This special edition Leica M digital camera has been designed by Apple's design guru, Jony Ive, and industrial designer, Marc Newson, for the (RED) charity. The one-of-a-kind camera features a laser machined aluminum body, an anodized aluminum outer shell, and looks like the love-child of a Lecia M, a MacBook and the Instagram logo. It will be sold at auction to raise money for the charity.

Based on the current Leica M, this camera is sure to make some people start wishing for an Jony Ive-designed iCamera, and others to question what went wrong with the Pentax K-01 designed by Marc Newson. It took the design duo (and a team of 55 engineers) a collective total of 2,149 hours over a nine month period to create the Leica M for (RED). This includes the 85 days it took to produce the 561 models and almost 1000 prototype parts that were needed.

The result is an unsurprisingly sleek-looking device which took one engineer 50 hours to assemble, and combines classic Leica design elements with modern production techniques. While the famous red dot is still there, the traditional leatherette trim has been replaced by more than 21,000 hemispheres in the anodized aluminum outer shell. In typical Ive fashion the camera boasts a laser machined aluminum body.

Rather than standing proud, as they do on other Leicas, the control dials and shutter button have been sunk into the top-plate and feature ridges to make them easier to turn. But these smooth lines have come at a cost, there's no hot-shoe for an external flash or accessories like an electronic viewfinder.

Despite those limitations, should the eventual buyer decide they actually want to use the camera to take photographs, rather than place it on display in a glass box, they can be reassured that it boasts some solid photographic credentials. Just as with the Leica M, it has a full-format CMOS sensor and a high performance processor. It also comes with a matching Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm F2 ASPH lens.

The special Leica M will be sold at a Southeby’s auction in New York on November 23rd with the proceeds going to The Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Estimates of what it will fetch range from $500,000 to $5,000,000. But, to beat the current record for the world's most expensive camera it will need to exceed $2.77 million.

Sources: Leica, (RED)