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Sir Jonathan Ive to design one-of-a-kind Leica M rangefinder

By dpreview staff on Sep 19, 2012 at 11:06 GMT

Leica has announced that it is in discussions with Sir Jonathan Ive - chief designer at Apple - about designing a unique, one-of-a-kind version of its new M rangefinder. In a statement to the British Journal of Photography, Leica has confirmed that the intention is for the resulting camera to be auctioned for charity in summer 2013.

According to Leica, the unique, Ive-designed M rangefinder will be auctioned in summer 2013 with proceeds going to Reporters Without Borders, a charitable organization dedicated to fighting censorship and supporting journalists around the globe. Sir Jonathan Ive is one of the most well-known industrial designers in the world, and is responsible for the design of some of Apple's most iconic products, including the iMac and iPhone. What do you think an Ive-designed M will look like? Let us know in the comments. 

(Photo: Apple)

Leica statement (via British Journal of Photography)

'Leica Camera AG is currently in discussions with Sir Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of Industrial Design at Apple Inc., about designing a single example of the new Leica M. The auction will be organised by Bono, vocalist of the rock band U2. The proceeds from the auction will go to those whose work Leica particularly wants to support: reporters in parts of the world afflicted by war and crisis'.

Comments

Total comments: 164
12
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Sep 19, 2012)

And here i was thinking Samsung designed the iPhone ;) but hey I'm sure Samsung will rip off this Leica and call it the NX "red dot"

0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 19, 2012)

Apple didn't invent the mp3 player, they reworked it so it worked for everyone not just geeks.

Apple didn't invent the smart phone, they reworked it so it worked for everyone not just geeks.

Apple didn't invent the tablet, they reworked it so it worked for everyone not just geeks.

They did this with relentless research, user trials, prototypes, critical assessment and harsh review. Where materials or components didn't exist, they helped create them, by invention, by acquisition, by research. It cost them billions, and Ives was one member of a team.

This is a one off camera, being sold by auction to charity. No research, no prototypes, no user trials, no feedback, no inventing materials. He's screwed.

The assignment should have gone to Jaeger-LeCoultre

1 upvote
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Sep 19, 2012)

"... no inventing ..."
...that won't stop them patenting the result - we're screwed!

5 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Sep 19, 2012)

You can get patents on innovations, too, not just inventions.

0 upvotes
Steffan Mamcillan
By Steffan Mamcillan (Sep 19, 2012)

no it's not it's gone to the right man - this is a PR exercise, and Mister Ives has the biggest profile.

1 upvote
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Sep 19, 2012)

Lest we forget that the first touch-only UI phone was not the iPhone but the LG Prada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_Prada).
But the guys at LG weren't smart enough to patent its shape, as Apple did. And then suing Samsung on the Ace for patent infringement. Innovative indeed...

1 upvote
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Sep 19, 2012)

Apple didn't invent the mp3 player, they reworked it so it worked for everyone not just geeks.
-- Try to upload music to iPod. And then do the same with an OEM .mp3 player. How about copy/paste?

Apple didn't invent the smart phone, they reworked it so it worked for everyone not just geeks.
-- Exchange .jpgs through Bluetooth. And then do the same with a 6 years old Nokia.

If anything, Apple has made it more difficult for simple people to come to terms with technology.

SONY has been there several times, with proprietary products, from video, computer and lately cameras. Every time they were forced to go with the market currents. I hope Apple will be clever enough to eventually do the same.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 19, 2012)

"Apple didn't invent the smart phone, they reworked it so it worked for everyone."

Yeah, their phone worked so good, you could not MAKE or RECEIVE telephone calls on it in a non-drop fashion, 'cause they "forgot" about the antenna bit, ha-ha-ha-ha.

Comment edited 8 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 19, 2012)

While a hatred of Apple may seem cool, it only marks you with a tattoo that says "I didn't get it", and thanks to electronic media, it's more permanent than ink.

The recent Samsung case is getting press for all the wrong reasons. The truth is it revolves around two slides:

Samsung phones pre iPhone:
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/samsung-iphone-1.png

And Samsung phones post iPhone:
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/samsung-iphone-3-640x405.png

But the jury, having seen these slides, had no doubt about their conclusion, yet had to to abide by the law and so made the judgement on a technicality of rounded rectangles. It made it easy.

While hating Apple may be cool now, when they're gone, and the world reverts to pedalling any old sh*te the marketeers can shift, even the most ardent of haters will lament the return of big names pedalling "huge" 64MB memory cards, because Joe public will again be excluded from the kingdom of the geek.

0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 19, 2012)

@Gully

I bought the LG Prada because it "looked" like the phone I'd really wanted. It was the worst piece of electronics I'd ever bought, and have never bought any LG product since. In a nutshell, you've nailed it. The Prada was style over substance, assembled in a few months and overpriced thanks to a badge. iPhone was 8 years in the making, billions in research, and countless prototypes that got rejected to lack of usability. I think I still have the Prada in my garage because I could never bring myself to inflicting it on someone else, just to recoup a bit of cash I so foolishly parted with.

I've had 4 iPhones and sold 3 of them on, and have people queuing for when I sell the forth. Quality is priceless.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 20, 2012)

"While hating Apple may be cool now, when they're gone, and the world reverts to pedalling any old sh*te the marketeers can shift..."

Hey, Najinsky, Apple is not yet gone, and guess what: they are happily pedalling any old sh*te their marketeers can shift and dump.

1 upvote
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 20, 2012)

Whatever. each to their own.

0 upvotes
G10Rebel
By G10Rebel (Sep 19, 2012)

Probably will steal a Braun design... like usual

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Sep 19, 2012)

Dieter Rams is one of Ive’s biggest fans, so your jab falls flat. Which isn’t to say Jonathan Ive hasn’t leaned heavily on Rams’ work. It’s called standing on the shoulders of giants.

6 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Sep 19, 2012)

So if this the reworking of an original idea, why is it so expensive? I mean, since everything "i" isn't a genuinely original idea.

Nobody is expected to play fair in the market. But Apple is trying soooo hard to be the un-fairest of all, that its disgusting. Funny thing is, they think they're being smart.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
1 upvote
hellocrowley
By hellocrowley (Sep 19, 2012)

When they stand on the shoulders of the giants it's fine. If someone stands on their shoulders, he'll get sued to oblivion.

1 upvote
meanwhile
By meanwhile (Sep 20, 2012)

Anyone posting comments on a camera site like DPReview calling Apple's products "so expensive" is being disingenuous.

1 upvote
meanwhile
By meanwhile (Sep 21, 2012)

It's the looking over the shoulder to copy that's the issue. When you climb, there's at least some effort of your own.

0 upvotes
Photato
By Photato (Sep 19, 2012)

Hoping the design includes non removable battery, fixed memory and proprietary ports.
Marketing BS.

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
16 upvotes
Mr Fartleberry
By Mr Fartleberry (Sep 19, 2012)

And no CF card port.

5 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (Sep 19, 2012)

And you will probably only be able to download the pictures using Apple Aperture. The battery life might also be underwhelming and the sensor will be 25% smaller than a non-apple version, in order to allow a slim design.

2 upvotes
tojkr
By tojkr (Sep 19, 2012)

Photato,
words of wisdom + sense of humour.. highly appreciate you.. They will even go etc mile by making cables and their proprietary software to download the photos from camera.. just 99.99$ per year with upgrades $49.99 each year.

1 upvote
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Sep 19, 2012)

The battery might as well be a 300 pictures, fixed (of course), non rechargeable one, since it will be a one-off product, never intended to actually take pictures.

2 upvotes
GMart
By GMart (Sep 19, 2012)

All the i designs are the same, just different sizes. Hardly amazing if you ask me.

4 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (Sep 19, 2012)

It is suggested that the design of many modern apple products (ipod, imac, macpro) is a near replica of some vintage Braun designs. Is this camera going to look like a hairdryer ?

4 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Sep 19, 2012)

Don't know. How many Apple products do?

2 upvotes
raylob
By raylob (Sep 19, 2012)

Suggest he contact Mark Newson for advice who designed the K-01! Seriously, contrary to the many critics, who whine about lack of viewfinder and its brick like build the Pentax K-01 is a joy to use. Coupled with the superb IQ this camera is hard to beat. Not a problem on a long vacation at all!

0 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (Sep 19, 2012)

Might be good but it looks like a LEGO toy.

2 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 19, 2012)

if i pay a designer to design a product that turns out to be butt ugly, has nothing to do with image quality

image quality, lensmount, lenses etc is the one thing that newson didnt design, thats also the one thing that is good about the camera, no one argues about pentax lenses

its about paying a designer, that designs a product thats just not made for beeing used as a tool, but a kids plasic toy

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 19, 2012)

At least he is an accomplished industrial designed unlike the last guy Pantax used.

3 upvotes
TrapperJohn
By TrapperJohn (Sep 19, 2012)

If it's a one-off, don't expect anything other than a redesign of the body. Maybe something like the Hassy NEX7, which is actually pretty interesting looking, if it weren't for the stratospheric price.

It's hard to imagine how much simpler or cleaner the M series could become, but let's see what he can do.

2 upvotes
gsum
By gsum (Sep 19, 2012)

This might be a one-off or it might be the Evil Empire getting its claws into Leica. I hope Leica have their patents in order before dealing with Apple.

4 upvotes
TurboElephant
By TurboElephant (Sep 19, 2012)

I think Leica wouldn't mind being part of the Evil Empire at all.

1 upvote
EricAotearoa
By EricAotearoa (Sep 19, 2012)

It doesn't matter what the camera is going to look like, or how it will function. It's a one-off for a charity fundraiser. People are getting their knickers in a twist as if this is going to be a major production line product. It could be a piece of modern art, it could be an M9 flattened by a steam roller to match the new i-phone, or it could be, well, who knows what.

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Pepe717
By Pepe717 (Sep 19, 2012)

Leica M with touch screen.. and run in Android OS.. ei ei

0 upvotes
Valiant Thor
By Valiant Thor (Sep 19, 2012)

After the camera is complete, the greatest part will be watching his video of how he did it. Your eyes will tear up and you'll need a full box of Kleenex on hand as he describes the process with such emotion that you'd think he just cured cancer.

11 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Sep 19, 2012)

All of that plus a lisp.

1 upvote
Mr Fartleberry
By Mr Fartleberry (Sep 19, 2012)

Only if he wears a dirty Tee shirt.

1 upvote
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Sep 19, 2012)

Women swoon for British accents. Dilbert taught me so. :)

2 upvotes
deleted_081301
By deleted_081301 (Sep 19, 2012)

"Women swoon for British accents. Dilbert taught me so. :) "
Clearly never heard a "Brummie" accent ;)

1 upvote
Prestidigitator
By Prestidigitator (Sep 20, 2012)

And he will talk for an hour about how he "didn't think about" the design, but it "moved through him". It "animated his soul" and he just helped it "materialize into the physical plane". And more of that New Age marketing claptrap that crApple has successfully used over the years to dazzle the tech-ignorant.

1 upvote
FTW
By FTW (Sep 19, 2012)

Same as we know, just an apple in the red Dot. Why does he not has a look at Hasselblaad, they produce exciting cameras together with Sony

1 upvote
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Sep 19, 2012)

Funny, judging by all the derision thrown at that companionship in the discussion here on DPR you would think it was a disgrace? :)

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Sep 19, 2012)

Ives favors simplification of complex objects, with an industrial design aesthetic that uses high grade metals like titanium and aluminium. It's hard to imagine what an Ives vision for an M rangefinder would look like as the M series already embodies such a design philosophy.

5 upvotes
Prestidigitator
By Prestidigitator (Sep 20, 2012)

Attaboy fanboi! Now go line up for hours in front of a brick&mortar store because ordering it online is so "mainstream".

0 upvotes
John
By John (Sep 19, 2012)

Should look like something Dieter Rams designed for Braun then! ;-)))

2 upvotes
E Dinkla
By E Dinkla (Sep 19, 2012)

Both Braun and Leica continued the Bauhaus tradition. It actually is a sign of incompetence that Leica has to turn to Apple's copycats. There is nothing wrong with the non-orange Leicas. Of course Leica marketing thinks high of Apple marketing, this is an act of pure frustration.

4 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 19, 2012)

Leica and charity.

5 upvotes
RayAnderson
By RayAnderson (Sep 19, 2012)

Nice looking and very "cool", easy to use.

All photographs will require prior approval by Apple.

You will not be able to download images from the camera to any non-Apple product.

It will produce images of average quality, but owners will believe that they are "absolutely amazing"!

19 upvotes
D-Man67
By D-Man67 (Sep 19, 2012)

Love that last part!

1 upvote
Prestidigitator
By Prestidigitator (Sep 20, 2012)

Their owners would also think that their favorite company invented photography, light, shadows, etc.

0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Sep 19, 2012)

Just a Big Red Dot with a small red dot on it....
But where is the lens?
Oh, inside the white square window on that small red dot.

0 upvotes
Joachim Gerstl
By Joachim Gerstl (Sep 19, 2012)

A Leica with just one button.

18 upvotes
Prestidigitator
By Prestidigitator (Sep 20, 2012)

Because their target market are too dumb to operate any electronic gadget with more than one hardware button.

1 upvote
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (Sep 19, 2012)

How about revert to a Leica design from the 50s.... no wait, make it shoot film!

Comment edited 8 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Sep 19, 2012)

Im gonna bet my life that it will be rectangle with round corners

17 upvotes
jira
By jira (Sep 19, 2012)

very funny :)

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Sep 19, 2012)

Considering Apple owns a copyright for rectangles, you may be right.

5 upvotes
gsum
By gsum (Sep 19, 2012)

Wonder if it will bounce.

0 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Sep 19, 2012)

Jonathan Ive is a complete nerd and a BSArtist. It makes perfect sense for Leica to pay him.

4 upvotes
Andrew Butterfield
By Andrew Butterfield (Sep 19, 2012)

Knowing Sir Jony it'll be good. Might end up in production if it's good enough.

3 upvotes
ccclai
By ccclai (Sep 19, 2012)

i-Leica

4 upvotes
lightandday
By lightandday (Sep 19, 2012)

Mi- Leica

0 upvotes
mgrum
By mgrum (Sep 19, 2012)

i-Leica a lot!

1 upvote
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Sep 19, 2012)

This is just a one-off, so not really the same issue as that other 'designer' camera, the Pentax K-01 - but I still hope he comes up with something that makes more sense as a camera, whilst still reflecting his design flair. Good luck to him.

As to what I would like to see - start from a clean sheet, think of the camera as the thing that gets in the way of taking a picture, and come up with something which gets in the way as little as possible. So many cameras are still predicated on designs which answered the problem of how to spool a 35mm film out of its cartridge onto a bobbin whilst keeping it flat where it traversed the focal plane, and where to stick the pentaprism. So we still basically have the box with a cylinder mounted front and centre, with an angular bump on top. Chuck it all out and start again!

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Krilnon
By Krilnon (Sep 21, 2012)

What did you think of the Lytro design?

0 upvotes
bradleyg5
By bradleyg5 (Sep 19, 2012)

Autofocus.

7 upvotes
Total comments: 164
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