Nothing can design “Ear 1s” to beat Apple AirPods


Thomas Howard: When we first started thinking about Nothing, we had the idea of ​​”owning” transparency. We will not win the technology competition, that’s for sure. But if we even want a chance, we need to be very good at engineering. Therefore, let us abandon the appearance, get rid of everything on the outside, and turn ourselves into the inside, because this is the most important thing.

From a distance, you will be very interested, but the matter is very simple, and then slowly when you start to look at the surface, the details of the product will show up. But then again, we really don’t know what kind of problems transparency can cause.


Thai: The most important thing is the glue that fuse the two sides of the transparent shell together. We have gone through many, many, many iterations-even until last week-to find the right balance. If you do it wrong, you will see glue on the edges. So it will no longer appear transparent. On the contrary, it will be diffused. It makes the whole thing out of balance.

We tried glue substitutes, various types of laser welding, ultrasonic welding-these methods may be more friendly to the output, but of course, this is a learning process for us.It’s just not in our mind [when we started], But for today’s future products, this is our first consideration.

Calpe: The yield rate of Ear 1s is only 50%. We want to bring it to the 90s. We are improving every day.

Is this why you did not choose to make the earplugs or the shell completely clear? Too difficult, your production failure rate is so high?

Thai: We set ourselves a challenge to reveal as much as possible the engineering design of Ear 1 and the shell. But you must strive to make products as neutral as possible. They need to feel balanced and not shout “engineering” at you. Therefore, we choose to hide or package certain components so as not to affect or distract attention. This is why we have this big white block in the box. But we do our best to make it transparent.

CP: Many of us are not inspired by consumer technologies that seem to be increasingly the same. It is important to find a design language that we can stick to.Jesper [Kouthoofd, founder and CEO of Teenage Engineering] Show us a picture of the Sony Museum, there are a bunch of products on the wall. You can see a consistent vision. Today’s companies don’t have a real design vision, they just do anything popular every quarter.

The trick is to find something different, which is also desirable, but not just different for it.Pure transparent design, can be seen everywhere everything On earplugs and shells, this standard is not met. We hope that more people can use these products. If it were completely transparent, it would be very niche.

Ear 1s vs. AirPods Pro

What are all the points? Point sign. Texture points on the case. The red dot on the right earbud.

Thai: We try to delete jobs that we don’t like for ourselves. We must design a logo. We want the appearance to be industrial. so… [Howard pulls out something that looks like a large gun.] It’s amazing, this thing. This is the method they use to mark unprintable pipes in industrial environments. It ejects an ink. But it is basically a dot matrix. We want to let the machine design the logo for us. See where this route will take us. Then we started using this font on many things.


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