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

Thomas Howard: When we initial started to assume about Nothing, there was this plan to ‘own’ transparency. We’re not likely to acquire the tech race, that’s for positive. But if we want to even have a opportunity, we need to get really fantastic at engineering. So let’s just do away with the facade, get rid of all the things that is on the exterior and flip ourselves to the insides, mainly because that’s what issues. 

From a length, you get intrigued but items come to feel very easy, and then bit by bit as you commence to appear at the floor, which is when the facts of the merchandise expose on their own. But, then again, we didn’t really know what form of complications transparency would bring about.


TH: The major point was the glue to fuse the two sides of the transparent housing with each other. We have been by means of lots of, numerous, quite a few iterations—even up until eventually very last week—to find the proper balance. If you do it wrong, you’ll see glue all the way all-around the edge. So it will not appear clear any more. Alternatively it will be diffused. It throws the total matter off balance.

We attempted alternate options to glue, numerous forms of laser welding, ultrasonic welding—things that may possibly be additional pleasant to the generate, but, of study course, it’s a mastering approach for us. It just wasn’t at the prime of our minds [when we started], but for potential merchandise now it’s the initially issue that we feel about.

Carl Pei: The produce charge for Ear 1s is only 50 per cent. We want to get it to the 90s. We’re strengthening day by working day. 

Is this why you have not opted to make the earbuds or case totally obvious? It’s just much too difficult and you get these types of a large generation failure amount?

TH: We established ourselves the obstacle of revealing as substantially of the engineering as feasible on Ear 1 and the case. But you have to strive to make items that are as neutral as feasible. They need to experience balanced and not scream “engineering” at you. So we choose to obscure, or package deal, some elements, to not detract or distract. Which is why we have this massive white block inside of the circumstance. But we did as much as we possibly could to make it transparent. 

CP: A ton of us were uninspired by customer tech wanting additional and more the similar. It was  important to obtain a design and style language we could stick with. Jesper [Kouthoofd, founder and CEO of Teenage Engineering] showed us a photo from the Sony museum where by there ended up a bunch of goods on the wall. You could see a reliable vision. Providers right now really don’t genuinely have a structure eyesight, they just do whatever is in style each individual quarter. 

The trick is to uncover something diverse that is also appealing, but not just unique for the sake of it. Pure clear structure, in which you see every thing on the earbuds and also the situation, does not satisfy that requirements. We want to make the merchandise accessible to much more men and women. It would have been really market if it was absolutely transparent.

Ear 1s vs. AirPods Professional

What is it with all the dots? The dot logo. The texture dots on the case. The crimson dot on the proper earbud. 

TH: We had been seeking to eliminate employment for ourselves that we really do not like. We had to structure a symbol. We preferred the seem to be industrial. So … [Howard pulls out something that looks like a large gun.] This is wonderful, this point. It is what they use to mark pipes in industrial environments the place you simply cannot print on them. It squirts out a sort of ink. But it’s essentially a dot matrix. We imagined, let’s allow a equipment structure the brand for us. See where that route will take us. Then we started out to use that typeface for a good deal of things.

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