Shall we begin? DJI fired a salvo in the drone / quadcopter world by slashing the price of the DJI Phantom 3 Pro by 20%. Last week the price point for a Phantom 3 Pro stood at $1,259. Today? $999. Sub $1000 drone with 4K capabilities.
That’s not the only news. The company is releasing invites to a March 1 event that promises a ‘major announcement’ about “the next era of intelligence, creativity and simplicity” and “DJI’s latest technology.”
DJI Phantom 4
I’ll drop the pro/advanced/standard monikers because we don’t know much, yet. Why the price cut? The company isn’t about to spoil its event and sent out a response explaining the move.
“We are constantly assessing our product range and market conditions to determine the most appropriate and competitive pricing for consumers. As more consumers advance their aerial photography skills, they are also asking for higher-quality cameras and more professional features on their drones. The price adjustment will enable more people to access our professional-grade aerial technology and open up more creative possibilities. You won’t find another drone on the market with the Phantom 3 Professional’s full array of capabilities for under $1,000. With this new, lower pricing, DJI is showing its commitment to putting top-quality technology in reach for those looking to buy their first drone or to upgrade from their existing one.”
Right, but let’s be real. You don’t chop 20% out of the goodness of your heart. It’s a business and a damn lucrative one. Normally, these type of moves is to clear stock. Or, it’s a move to free the old price point for something new.
The Phantom 4. The invites to the March event had an image that looked suspiciously like a Phantom. It doesn’t take much speculation to know that the next Phantom is coming. It fits within the DJI product cycle.[divider]Rumors[/divider]
It the Internet, it’s what we do. I have my wishlist, and I also have my safe expectations. Expectations first.
Better camera. I love the camera on my Phantom 3 Pro, but an upgrade is coming. Better sensor, maybe better bitrate for 4K? Come on DJI, I know you want to. Rumors are floating the Internet of a 6K camera. To put that in perspective, NASA uses a Red Epic Dragon 6K on the ISS. It will all come down to bitrate.
Object avoidance. This feature can already be added to the Matrice 100. Is it about to make the leap to the next line of Phantoms? The trees in my yard hope so. I may or may not have a drone that smells of fresh pine. There are worse things in life…
If DJI adds the feature, we could be looking at the ability to avoid power lines, trees, buildings, signs, etc. Anything that makes for a safer sky, I’m onboard. It could use a combination of laser or sonar sensors to make it work.
Longer battery life. Here is a mixture of wishlist and expectations. If you ask me to choose between a better camera / bitrate or battery life, I’ll choose the camera. I’m holding onto expectations of both. Maybe not crazy improvements, but closer to 30 minutes per battery would be fantastic.[divider]Wishlist[/divider]
Optical zoom. Oh man, can we have optical zoom? Please? My thinking here is that it cuts into the Inspire series of Zenmuse cameras and their interchangeable lenses. If a stock DJI quadcopter / drone is getting optical zoom, it’ll be the Inspire. Though, one can hope…
Landing gear. It’ll have new landing struts, but my wish is for it to retract and have the Phantom 4 operate with a 360-degree view. That’s the major selling point of the Inspire series, but DJI could push crazy camera upgrades to the Inspire line and offer the full range of motion in the new Phantoms.
I’m filing that under wishful thinking. But damn it would be cool.
My wishlist will never end, but one more. 1080p real-time transmissions. Right now it sits at 720p, and the latency is great. DJI bumping it to 1080p would help photographers and videographers alike frame their shots easier.
Sound off in the comments with your list of must-have features. Do you think the price cut signals the Phantom 4 arrival? Pricing? Release date? Speculate away. It’s what the Internet is all about.