Will.I.Am Launches Pricey i.am+ Camera Add-ons to ‘Turbocharge iPhone Camera’

NEW YORK | Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 6:25pm EDT

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.

will i am launches i am camera add ons for iPhone 01

Will.i.am’s V.4 camera accessory turns the iPhone’s camera into a 14MP device and features a slide out keyboard. Photo: Gerald Gonzales/The Telegraph

Fans of iPhone photography, remember hip-hop artist and the Black Eyed Peas leader Will.i.am announcing a 14-megapixel iPhone camera attachment last week?

Today, it has been announced that the accessory bearing his name and dubbed the i.am+ is set to launch December 6. It will be available in contemporary and vintage version for the iPhone 4/4S, with the flagship iPhone 5 unit arriving at some point next year and sporting a dedicated 14-megapixel camera sensor and flash…

As the Telegraph says, 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 development of the product began last year, how he called it “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.

Engadget reports that it is worth pointing out that these accessories do slightly more than just give your iPhone a wide-angle view of the world — and in fact there are quite a few different models that all do different things. They’re as follows:

  • The foto.sosho C.4 is the basic model at approximately $317 (£199), which includes a flash module, three interchangeable lenses (macro, fish-eye and clear glass) and a grip to make it easier to wield your iPhone 4 or 4S like a point-and-shoot. Aside from these functions, the device is largely about aesthetics — and the white and gold C.4 we played with certainly makes a statement, if that’s what you’re into. It also features a slide-out keyboard.
  • The foto.sosho V.4 is for those who prefer vintage styling. It costs $415 (£299) and adds a slide-out backlit QWERTY keyboard that pairs with your phone over Bluetooth. Like the C.4, it’s only compatible with the iPhone 4 and 4S.
  • The foto.sosho V.5 and “luxury” L.5 (also with QWERTY) persist with the excessive punctuation, but otherwise take a very different approach to “social-digital photography,” as explained below. They won’t be available until early next year, with pricing yet to be announced, and they’ll only play nice with the iPhone 5.

A companion app will interact with the accessory, letting you share individual snaps via your free account on the i.am web service. The software will feature on-screen controls to quickly switch between shooting modes, apply real-time filters control the built-in flash, edit pictures, add captions and more, says the I Download Blog.

The musician told Georgia Dehn of The Telegraph how he came up with the idea at a photo shoot in London in 2008: “I was just hanging out afterwards, and one of the models took an iPhone picture, which circulated the planet before the shoot was even over. I took one of the photographer’s lenses and held it up on my phone and said “imagine this one day”. Then I said: “I’m going to do this”.

His venture can be found at www.i.am. Users of i.am+ accessories will be given individual online profiles, for example www.i.am/Will.

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