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Leica i9 concept camera incorporates iPhone

Product development specialists Black Design Associates has brought together two iconic products to make one cool-looking piece of kit.

Called the Leica i9 Concept (for sadly a concept is all it is for now), the stunning design combines the Apple iPhone with the look of the Leica M9, the smallest full-frame camera on the market, and one that retails for a wallet-emptying $7,000. (Incidentally, Leica just recently brought out a titanium version of the M9 costing a staggering $26,500). The i9 concept design has been given a slightly more affordable price tag of between $900 and $1,200.

According to the California-based company, the i9 offers “the unmatched brilliance of Leica’s professional CMOS image sensor and lens, made specifically for the unparalleled processing, display and sharing capabilities of Apple’s iPhone 4.” The i9 sports a 12.1-megapixel sensor and an 8x optical zoom. The battery power of each device can be shared, too.

The i9 incorporates a “camera back dock” that “loads your iPhone4 reminiscent to traditional 35mm film and takes full advantage of the iPhone4’s superior Retina Touch-Screen Display.” The interchangeable camera back means the camera would be compatible with future versions of the iPhone.

Black Design Associates claims the device has been designed to be “a true ready-to-shoot camera with Leica’s superior range finder and a 0.3 second start-up. Photos or videos are stored on the i9’s internal flash memory (expandable with SD) and then uploaded onto your iPhone 4 once the Leica app has launched.”

In other words, once the photos have been taken using the Leica lens and sensor, they’re transferred to your attached iPhone, ready for sharing with the world.

You could consider the i9 as a rather elaborate iPhone case, albeit a rather expensive one. But then, with a case costing that much, you’d need another one to protect that. Where will it ever end?

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