The idea of packing a top-class 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and 8x optical zoom professional lens into an iPhone case is not something which seems like an obvious choice – unless of course you work with Black Design Associates.
The company has announced the Lecia i9 Concept which allows iPhone 4 users to pair their handsets with a fixed-lens Leica rangefinder camera – which also doubles as an iPhone case. The idea is that the Retina Display on the iPhone will become the viewfinder for the camera. Slipping the phone into the i9 activates the compact optical zoom, dedicated aperture and shutter dials, flash and light meter. The i9 will be a ready-to-shoot device boasting a 0.3 second startup time. Photos or videos are stored on the i9's internal flash memory (expandable with SD) and then uploaded onto your iPhone4 once the Leica app has launched.
With battery life on the iPhone already less that blinding, Black Design Associates state that the i9 and iPhone 4 can share their independent batteries for extended operation. The Leica app will allow you to upload photos and videos directly to Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, via MMS or email. As a way of future proofing the design, the company also says the i9 will feature an interchangeable backing for future generation iPhones. It also points out that in the future, upgraded software could mean a lot more features in the coming years including a remote voice activated shutter control that as easy as saying, "Cheese!"
Of course this is all in the realm of speculation at this stage as the i9 is still in the concept stage. Whether we ever see the fancy iPhone case or not remains to be seen and if we do will you be willing to shell out undoubtedly large amounts of cash just for an iPhone case?