Roy Gilbert

How This Startup Designed ‘Ear 1s’ to Beat AirPods

www.wired.com

Jeremy White, Wired UK

Gear

07.28.2021 09:00 AM How This Startup Designed ‘Ear 1s’ to Beat AirPods

The head of design at Nothing explains how their product could take on Apple’s all-conquering wireless earbuds, at a fraction of the cost. Nothing’s first product, the Ear 1 earphones, launched on Tuesday. Photograph: Nothing When your design motif is transparent tech, the quest to make the tangle of wires and jumble of components look attractive beneath clear plastic can take an unexpected toll. Nothing discovered this the hard way making its Ear 1 earphones, that brand’s first product. Among many unexpected manufacturing hurdles, the company headed by OnePlus cofounder Carl Pei got fired by not one but two magnet factories.

The trouble was that, as you can physically see the magnets in both the case and the arms of new Ear 1s , they had to be highly polished. But magnet factories don’t usually do this, so quality control was a problem. “As a startup, we don’t have the biggest volumes. But we were so damn annoying in our requests they were like, ‘OK, just find somebody else.’ So the factory that ended up supporting us was actually the third,” says Pei.

It’s fair to say that Pei and the Nothing team have taken the art of drip-feeding news to a new level with the Ear 1s, revealing glimpses of design concepts, issuing press releases on the model name, retail partners, and even attempting to get coverage on the design of just […]

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