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DJI's New Phantom 4 Drone Is Smarter, More Expensive and Available From Apple

Preorders for the $1,399 drone start today.


DJI, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, has a new model. It’s called the Phantom 4, it retails for $1,399 and it will be available exclusively for preorder through DJI’s website and Apple’s online store today.

DJI is the most important drone company in the world, the Phantom model is its best-selling line of drones and companies are increasingly interested in using drones for their business, especially delivery. DJI makes drones that are used by 70 percent of the global commercial market, and it has a software developer platform that’s the closest thing to an industry standard for drones. The new Phantom is a product that companies using drones are paying close attention to, because it’s what they’ll probably buy if they are buying drones.

A new Phantom 4 feature that DJI is aggressively hyping is its “Obstacle Sensing System” that uses two front-facing sensors that detect anything in the drone’s path and can immediately steer the drone to safety. There are new companion apps (including one that enables a “touch-and-go” steering system for the drone), it has a camera that can move around more easily and it can also fly at 45 miles per hour.

For the Phantom 4 release, DJI partnered with Apple to make the Phantom the only drone available in Apple stores. Preorders from DJI’s website and start today. The Phantom 4 will be available in Apple retail locations and DJI’s flagship stores in Asia on March 15. You can order it from other retailers starting on March 23.

Though DJI established itself as a brand among drone enthusiasts and other die-hards, the real money for DJI is in growing its enterprise customer base. The company has a software developer kit that serves startups making apps like “Waze for drones” Hivemapper, and it is working with Accel Partners to create a special fund to invest in startups that use DJI drones and build on its platform. As part of DJI’s deal with Accel, the company raised $75 million from Accel in a round that ended up setting DJI’s value at $10 billion. Last month, Ford announced a deal to work on drone-to-car integrations with DJI.

DJI has also slowly been building its profile in Washington. In January, the company hired former Uber public policy chief Corey Owens to lead its own North American policy unit. Until now, Amazon, Google and other tech companies have been doing the heavy regulatory lifting with the FAA and other authorities.

The Phantom 4 has a retail price of $1,399. The Phantom 3 Professional goes for $999 on DJI’s online store and the Phantom 3 4K is $799. Below is a comparison of the Phantom 4 and Phantom 3 series, data provided by DJI:

DJI Phantom 4 3

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