Will.i.am Makes an iPhone into a 14 MP “Genius Phone” with i.am+

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Singer, musician, creative tech genius—and Intel’s Director of Creative Innovation—Will.i.am thinks his soon-to-be launched i.am+ iPhone camera attachment will be what can make your iPhone into a much better camera. And he’s done it all with Apple’s blessing.

Due to be unveiled on November 28th (next Wednesday) in London, this new dock/accessory device will employ its own sensor and flash to push the built-in hardware to 14MP:

The first product from his new consumer electronics and app venture i.am+ is an accessory that clips onto an iPhone and transforms the eight megapixel smartphone camera into a 14 megapixel camera, which it is claimed dramatically enhances the clarity and definition of your photographs. Speaking exclusively to The Daily Telegraph, he says: ‘We have our own sensor and a better flash. You dock you phone into our device and it turns you smartphone into a genius-phone. We take over the camera.’
From: Will.i.am’s iPhone accessories to ‘turn smartphones into genius phones’ – Telegraph

Assumedly since Apple granted Will.i.am a dev license, we’ll see a 30-pin and Lightning version of the device when it launches. While I think the device idea is great, sign me up now, I’m a little hesitant about yet another camera app on my phone. Maybe, though, like the Pogo Connect, others can license an API to tap into so maybe apps like Camera+ or Blux Camera can take advantage of the i.am+ as well. Since this is just the start of Will.i.am’s device line, I wouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t happen:

Apple has granted i.am+ a development licence to produce and sell the camera accessory and camera app for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, but Will.i.am says that a larger range of tech hardware will follow.

With the device let to launch next week and be available to UK shoppers in early December (and hopefully other places soon afterward) we’ll update you on the details.

The debut series of i.am+ camera accessories will be officially launched at a press conference in London on Wednesday 28 November. Selfridges will sell the products exclusively from early December.

Here are my thoughts on some things I’d hope to see in the i.am+:

  • Nice replacement for a case or at least easy on-easy off. I like my Olloclip, but I hate having to pop my phone out if its case to use it.
  • Tripod mount. It’s a little detail that could make a use difference if you want to take advantage of 14MP worth of oomph
  • Flash filters. I have diffusers for my Nikon flash and ofter use a paper napkin or piece of semi-transparent tape to diffuse camera flashes. It would be great if we could do the same on the i.am+
  • Simple, clean, no bling design. The picture above is supposed to be Will.i.am holding a i.am+. I really hope it doesn’t look like that.
  • Around $100. Tech is expensive. Great photography tools are expensive (I had a few lenses worth more than the camera body I was shooting with), but to catch on (like the Olloclip did) you need to make it something that people don’t wonder if they should just buy a decent point-n-shoot instead.
What are your thoughts? And no beaming them in as a hologram!

HT: Slashgear

Photo from Getty Images

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  • Hovabyte

    Until iphone 5s come out with a built in 14mp camera we must all rush and buy this crap

    • http://trishussey.com Tris Hussey

      That’s an interesting point, think the 5S will have a 14MP camera?

      • Hovabyte

        Well apple have upgraded the camera on nearly every new device. It’s almost like the one true constant. We’ve also got a Nokia with 41mp. Yeah it’s excessively high but apple are going to have to keep competing on all fronts if it expects people to keep upgrading. If they don’t do it by the 5s I would almost guarantee the iPhone 6

        • Zangpakto

          Personally, what is the point of 10MP+?

          The size of pixels has nothing to do with the clarity of the image, the the size that can be printed. You could have a 100MP camera that takes worst photos than a 2MP camera for instance.

          Please explain why the need to print out an image bigger than a car is needed? In fact, when last did you do a billboard size image printout? How often in fact does anyone? Not much.

          Sure a poster size is cool, maybe that can be used, but something REALLY huge and big? I don’t see the point. People who will take those are likely using a good DSLR camera instead… Money wouldn’t be the issue if your printing full colour billboard sized photos.

          Quality matters more than stupid pixel size at end of the day. If you can make the picture clarity better OR increase pixel count, what do you do? Obvious choice is clarity. I think apple are doing it right, it isn’t a race for pixel count. Especially for phones that will never replace a dedicated DSLR or even for a novice a nice ILC camera.

          Be realistic. Clarity wins over a higher mega pixel any day for just about anyone. Most people send through email, post on Facebook, very very few will print it out. In fact I think it would be right to say it is very rare to print a photo out from an iPhone.

          • Shrivatsa Somany

            That is what I like about the iPhone 5′s camera. I dont know if you’ve noticed, but there is very little jaggedness on the sides. (I didn’t really see it until my camera expert cousin pointed it out)

      • Shrivatsa Somany

        If I may squeeze into this conversation here:

        I think Apple has been doing camera updates right. They keep the pixel count one step below most competitors, but their sensor sizes are larger on average (I assume that is still the case). Now that we are seeing full-frame sensors packed into cameras like the Sony RX1 (or even 1″ sensors like the RX100), I wonder if Apple can shuffle things around enough to put one of those babies in. Even a 2/3″ would work WONDERS. I think they should stay out of the absurd megapixel race, the mere thought of people boasting MOAR megapixels is a better camera makes me cringe.

        For example, I bet the PureView has a pretty bullsh*t sized sensor with 41 million pixels stuffed into it. It’s like the American car market back in the 70′s, shove in the biggest and most powerful engine into your car, transmission doesn’t matter does it?

        • Zangpakto

          RX1 is a beautiful camera isn’t it? Bit expensive still, but man is it awesome! :D

          • Shrivatsa Somany

            Yes. $2800 is INSANE…but a full frame sensor with the typical crazy Sony tech? My word.

  • John

    “Creative tech genius” seems a bit inflated…

    • http://rounak.me/ Rounak Jain

      tell that to Intel :P