I've heard that Apple is going to Launch the new iCAM Add-on for Apple iPHONE 5.

Is this true? And will iCAM be good for digital photography?


No. This is a concept camera, which means someone — in this case, not even anyone affiliated with Apple — makes a digital mockup and describes how the product would theoretically work and act. It's not real.

Often such ideas have no relation to what could be engineered in reality, since they're not fettered by the constraints of reality — size, cost, battery tech, and do on. Other times the do predict the future — but don't hold your breath.

Here, the idea is clearly to capitalize on the popularity of "iPhoneography", combining the many advantages of smartphone cameras —

  • flexible user interface for capture and post-processing
  • third-party innovation
  • constant, instant internet access

with those of "real" cameras:

  • image quality
  • flexible lenses
  • large sensors

in a way that combines the best of both. Part of the lure, surely, would be that phone upgrades would bring more power to the camera part without needing you to buy new cameras — and that you could also upgrade the camera separately if need be. This seems rather optimistic. I'm also really skeptical that the camera could be made as thin and small as portrayed, especially if it contains a sensor any better than that already in the iPhone.

I think we'd be better off with cameras designed to run iOS or Android, but made as cameras, not as a weird hybrid. Now, Apple has filed for a patent on an iPhone with swappable lenses — we may see that in a future model, but I think more likely they're just hedging their bets and exploring possibilities.

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Yup, it's not real as mattdm points out. I can't see it ever being made either, as as a concept, it is fatally flawed (aside from the fact that some people will buy anything made by Apple).

The concept is a camera that uses the iPhone for its brains, yet has its own controls, sensor, and even an LCD screen on the front, so must have its own 'brains' anyway, making the dockable iPhone nothing more than the world's most expensive memory card.

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  • I don't know, it could be interesting idea. Smartphones today already have good-sized high-resolution screens, nearly always available network connections, can add functionality through downloadable applications and have built-in GPS. On the other side, DSLRs have better sensors, optics and ergonomics. Why not make a DSLR that doesn't have a rear screen but just communicates wirelessly to a smartphone with a special app (and have a clip on the camera for the phone). People could add third-party RAW converters, new metering modes (tap to select highlight and dark points?), animation apps, etc. – David Rouse Jun 14 '12 at 12:32
  • @David I'm not against the idea in general, just this particular concept is as big as a camera, will cost as much as a camera, has all the components of a camera, yet requires a $700 phone in order to operate! What you actually want is lens with built in sensor, which communicates wirelessly to the smartphone, and some sort of holder to attach the two. That way you are genuinely eliminating components. Making a whole camera without a screen is a less inviting prospect. – Matt Grum Jun 14 '12 at 12:43
  • You can already SORT OF have it: photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/iphone-slr-mount . You just have to use the iphone's existing sensor and having not used an iphone for pictures, I'm unsure as to whether there is a good camera app for controlling aperture, ISO and shutter speed. – huzzah Jun 14 '12 at 15:03
  • I love it "world most expensive memory card" - and of course I really want to shoot high-res raw to the iPhone so it shares storage with all my apps, music, podcasts, book and everything else on the only phone in the world that can't have it's storage extended by a memory card – Nir Jun 14 '12 at 20:57
  • @MattGrum - agreed, and after further thought I think the best thing to do would be to embed a web server in the camera (kind of like networked printers) and allow any device (but you can set a password) to access the pictures, adjust curves for JPEG production, make custom settings sets, etc. But have that in a rationally priced camera. – David Rouse Jun 15 '12 at 12:19

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