Apple design chief Jonathan Ive is in discussions to produce a one-off special edition Leica M that will be auctioned for charity, according to Leica owner Dr. Andreas Kaufmann. PetaPixel reports that Ive was expected to be on hand at yesterday's Leica press conference to make things official, but Kaufmann decided to make the news public despite a last-minute scheduling conflict. As for which charity the auction — guaranteed to pull in an obscene amount of money — will benefit, Pocket-lint says proceeds will go to Reporters Without Borders. The organization provides assistance to journalists in war-torn regions. U2 frontman Bono (who serves as the public face of Product RED) is said to be orchestrating Leica's charity initiative.
These are rare circumstances to be sure; we're hard pressed to think of another instance where Ive has taken his talents outside of Apple's engineering labs. Considering his heralded work on consumer-targeted products, we'd expect his signature Leica M — which demands a $7,000 premium in its retail form — to be something special. The company says the Ive-designed prize will be auctioned off at some point next summer. We've reached out to Leica for more details.