Will.i.am launches i.am+ to ‘turbocharge iPhone camera’
Will.i.am, the musician and entrepreneur, says the i.am+ foto.sosho iPhone accessories range will ‘turbo charge iPhones to become a camera with interchangeable lenses’, and also add a keyboard.
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Will.i.am's £299 V.4 camera accessory turns the iPhone camera into a 14MP device and features a slide out keyboard
The range, which starts at £199 and will initially be available exclusively from London’s Selfridges, claims to “turn your iPhone into a fashionable camera”.
They will also integrate a keyboard which Will.i.am claims will make sharing and tagging photos easier.
The product has been developed over the last year for what he called "the cost of two DJ gigs".
Under the brand foto.sosho, the models have interchangeable lenses and a built-in flash, with photo editing, filters and sharing also built in. Versions for the iPhone 4 will be available from 6 December, but an iPhone 5 model, which replaces the entire iPhone camera with a new sensor an flash, will not ship until next year.
Speaking The Daily Telegraph last week, the Black-Eyed Peas star said the first product from his new consumer electronics and app venture i.am+ 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. ‘We have our own sensor and a better flash,” he said. “You dock you phone into our device and it turns you smartphone into a genius-phone. We take over the camera.
At the launch in London, Will.i.am said he hoped the fact that he had made a product himself, "rather than just talking about it", would inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. He also hopes to make an Apprentice-style technology show by the end of 2013.
The camera is the first of a series of digital products that bear his name – to support them, he has invested in what he calls ‘digital real estate’ online. He now owns the domain www.i.am. Users of i.am+ accessories will be given individual online profiles, for example www.i.am/Will.
The new devices will compete with software-based solutions such as Instagram as well as other camera accessories that add lenses to the iPhone. The new device, however, “fits over your iPhone unit so you only need to carry one device”, i.am+ said. A total of four models will include standard, fish-eye, wide and zoom lenses, with contemporary and vintage models for iPhone 4 and 5 respectively called C.4 and V.4 and C.5 and V.5.
A companion iTunes app turns the hardware in to what the celebrity calls “a social photo experience”. It will also offer easy access for users to store In their individual i.am account.
As with other apps and accessories, on on-screen controls allow users to change shooting modes, apply real-time filters, control the in-built flash and edit pictures or add caption.
The i.am+ C.4 unit “Modern Look” will sell for £199, while the white V.4 model with gold trim and a “Vintage Look” will sell for £299. It also features a slide-out keyboard.