Richard Howarth's tight knit group of industrial designers at Apple has just lost a longstanding member, as GoPro announces that Daniel Costner—who’d been with Apple since 1993—will serve as the rugged camera company’s new vice president of hardware to lead new designs, answering directly to GoPro CEO Nick Woodman.
Given the secrecy of Apple’s design studio, the individual contributions of any one designer can be hard to quantify. But Costner’s name appears on over 50 patents, including the stainless steel iPhone 4, and AppleInsider points to his collaboration with Jony Ive in developing one of the first pieces of hardware in Apple’s modern turnaround—the Bondi Blue iMac. Costner appears to be the first major talent departure under Richard Howarth, who recently took over Apple's industrial design group after Ive was promoted to chief design officer.
The Information published the scoop today, but strangely enough, Coster actually broke the news in a recent interview with a 14-year-old New Zealand student (Coster is a Kiwi), saying of his future goals: "I want more time with my family and friends. And to explore this new opportunity at GoPro."
The timing could not be better for GoPro. Since going public in 2014 with great fanfare, the company has suffered from revenue decline in the hundreds of millions of dollars, forcing the company to lay off 7% of its staff earlier this year. As smartphones continue to pack better video cameras and the materials they are made with are more durable (Samsung recently made its Galaxy line waterproof, and Apple’s iPhone is rumored to follow), GoPro is at risk of becoming another Flip Video—the cheap video camera of the late aughts that Cisco bought for $590 million in 2009, only to kill off two years later when sales declined. Costner has his work cut out for himself.