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The i9 - A Hybrid iPhone / Leica Concept

Black Design Associates, LLC, an Los Angeles-based consultancy, revealed a concept for a hybrid iPhone / Leica called the i9. It’s a 12.1 megapixel, 8x zoom, fully featured iPhone 4 accessory. Before you break out your credit card, remember this is only a concept.

The i9 has a camera/iPhone toggle that turns on your camera with an instant start-up time of 0.3sec., while simultaneously loading the Leica app on your iPhone 4. A zoom/volume control adjusts tight and wide when your camera is on, and adjusts volume up and down when your camera is off. Dedicated aperture and shutter dials offer fast and easy options for manual operation. Pass-through and actuators give you full access to your iPhone 4 controls and headphone jack. The flash and light meter offers higher quality photos and videos in low-light conditions.

More features include an independent camera body that doesn’t depend on the iPhone 4 processor, making the i9 a true ready-to-shoot camera. A compact optical zoom offers true optical zoom with a greater number of focal lengths in a compact size. A Leica rangefinder allows for faster uninterrupted shooting. The iPhone case form factor makes the i9 ultra-compact and protects your iPhone 4 in a rugged and stylish case. The Camera Back Dock loads your iPhone 4 reminiscent to traditional 35mm film and takes full advantage of the iPhone 4’s superior Retina Touch-Screen Display. The back swings open like a traditional film camera to reveal Apple’s 30-pin connector dock. An interchangeable camera back also ensures the i9 is compatible with future generation iPhones.

Black Design says the i9 doesn’t give up on compromise with either device. It will function flawlessly as a high performance camera and a smartphone. With upgradeable software, partner plug-ins/apps, and the ability to take advantage of an ever-growing list of new iPhone features, the possibilities could be limitless. The conceptual price for the i9 is around $1000; but if you wanted to go out and buy a Leica M9, it will set you back over $7000.

This is one of the most elegant and functional accessories ever thought of for an iPhone. Who needs diamond encrusted cases when you can answer phone calls on with your Leica. Show that trick to your friends.

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