Thomas Howard: Once we first began to consider Nothing, there was this concept to ‘personal’ transparency. We’re not going to win the tech race, that’s for certain. But when we need to also have a likelihood, we have to get actually good at engineering. So let’s simply get rid of the facade, eliminate all the things that’s on the outside and switch ourselves to the insides, as a result of that’s what issues. 

From a distance, you get intrigued however issues really feel fairly easy, after which slowly as you begin to take a look at the floor, that’s when the main points of the product reveal themselves. However, then once more, we didn’t actually know what kind of issues transparency would trigger.

Issues? 

TH: The most important factor was the glue to fuse the 2 sides of the clear housing collectively. We’ve got been by means of many, many, many iterations—even up till final week—to seek out the correct stability. In the event you do it improper, you’ll see glue all the way in which across the edge. So it is not going to seem clear anymore. As an alternative it is going to be subtle. It throws the entire thing off stability.

We tried options to connect, numerous sorts of laser welding, ultrasonic welding—issues that is perhaps extra pleasant to the yield, however, after all, it’s a studying course of for us. It simply wasn’t on the high of our minds [when we started], however for future merchandise now it’s the very first thing that we take into consideration.

Carl Pei: The yield price for Ear 1s is barely 50 %. We need to get it to the 90s. We’re enhancing daily. 

Is that this why you haven’t opted to make the earbuds or case utterly clear? It is simply too exhausting and also you get such a excessive manufacturing failure price?

TH: We set ourselves the problem of unveiling as a lot of the engineering as attainable on Ear 1 and the case. However it’s important to try to make merchandise which might be as impartial as attainable. They should really feel balanced and never scream “engineering” at you. So we select to obscure, or bundle, some elements, to not detract or distract. That’s why we’ve got this huge white block inside the case. However we did as a lot as we probably may to make it clear. 

CP: A variety of us have been uninspired by shopper tech trying increasingly the identical. It was  vital to discover a design language we may keep on with. Jesper [Kouthoofd, founder and CEO of Teenage Engineering] confirmed us an image from the Sony museum the place there have been a bunch of merchandise on the wall. You may see a constant imaginative and prescient. Firms at the moment don’t actually have a design imaginative and prescient, they simply do no matter is in style every quarter. 

The trick is to seek out one thing totally different that’s additionally fascinating, however not simply totally different for the sake of it. Pure clear design, the place you see all the things on the earbuds and likewise the case, doesn’t fulfill that standards. We need to make the merchandise accessible to extra individuals. It will have been very area of interest if it was absolutely clear.

Ear 1s vs. AirPods Professional

What’s it with all of the dots? The dot brand. The feel dots on the case. The purple dot on the correct earbud. 

TH: We have been attempting to take away jobs for ourselves that we don’t like. We needed to design a brand. We wished the look to be industrial. So … [Howard pulls out one thing that appears like a big gun.] That is wonderful, this factor. It’s what they use to mark pipes in industrial environments the place you may’t print on them. It squirts out a sort of ink. However it’s principally a dot matrix. We thought, let’s let a machine design the emblem for us. See the place that route takes us. Then we began to make use of that typeface for lots of stuff.