How Nothing Designed ‘Ear 1s’ to Beat Apple AirPods

Thomas Howard: When we initially started out to feel about Absolutely nothing, there was this idea to ‘own’ transparency. We’re not likely to earn the tech race, which is for absolutely sure. But if we want to even have a probability, we will need to get actually great at engineering. So let us just do absent with the facade, get rid of every little thing that is on the exterior and change ourselves to the insides, for the reason that that’s what issues. 

From a distance, you get intrigued but issues sense quite easy, and then slowly but surely as you begin to glance at the floor, that’s when the details of the item reveal them selves. But, then yet again, we did not actually know what form of challenges transparency would trigger.


TH: The biggest issue was the glue to fuse the two sides of the clear housing with each other. We have been by means of several, a lot of, many iterations—even up until past week—to obtain the appropriate stability. If you do it completely wrong, you will see glue all the way close to the edge. So it will not look transparent any longer. As an alternative it will be subtle. It throws the full matter off stability.

We experimented with solutions to glue, a variety of varieties of laser welding, ultrasonic welding—things that might be much more pleasant to the yield, but, of study course, it is a mastering procedure for us. It just wasn’t at the leading of our minds [when we started], but for future products now it is the first point that we think about.

Carl Pei: The yield charge for Ear 1s is only 50 percent. We want to get it to the 90s. We’re improving upon day by working day. 

Is this why you haven’t opted to make the earbuds or situation totally crystal clear? It can be just too tricky and you get this sort of a high production failure level?

TH: We set ourselves the problem of revealing as significantly of the engineering as attainable on Ear 1 and the scenario. But you have to attempt to make merchandise that are as neutral as doable. They have to have to sense well balanced and not scream “engineering” at you. So we opt for to obscure, or offer, some elements, to not detract or distract. That’s why we have this significant white block inside of of the scenario. But we did as much as we maybe could to make it clear. 

CP: A lot of us were being uninspired by client tech looking more and a lot more the very same. It was  important to find a style language we could adhere with. Jesper [Kouthoofd, founder and CEO of Teenage Engineering] confirmed us a photograph from the Sony museum in which there had been a bunch of goods on the wall. You could see a constant vision. Providers today never genuinely have a layout eyesight, they just do whatever is in manner just about every quarter. 

The trick is to locate one thing diverse that is also desirable, but not just various for the sake of it. Pure clear layout, wherever you see every little thing on the earbuds and also the circumstance, does not satisfy that requirements. We want to make the products and solutions obtainable to far more individuals. It would have been quite niche if it was completely transparent.

Ear 1s vs. AirPods Professional

What is it with all the dots? The dot symbol. The texture dots on the situation. The crimson dot on the appropriate earbud. 

TH: We were being trying to eliminate employment for ourselves that we really do not like. We had to structure a symbol. We preferred the glance to be industrial. So … [Howard pulls out something that looks like a large gun.] This is wonderful, this matter. It’s what they use to mark pipes in industrial environments in which you cannot print on them. It squirts out a variety of ink. But it’s essentially a dot matrix. We considered, let’s permit a device layout the emblem for us. See wherever that route takes us. Then we began to use that typeface for a lot of stuff.

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