Malmö-based music hardware company Earin started in 2013 and has since gained investment funding on numerous occasions. On 10th January 2018, it was revealed that Earin had been bought by internationally acclaimed musician Will.i.am for an undisclosed amount. The team behind Earin will still play a role in the company by continuing to deliver innovative products.
The Earin headphones are very small, and sit completely in the ear. Basing the design on hearing aids as opposed to headphones, Earin have foam tips which fit inside the ear and create a seal, which both eliminates outside noise and creates the perfect fit, keeping them from falling out. They are completely wireless, and connect to your device via bluetooth.
Effect on the current market
By purchasing Earin, Will.i.am is indicating a move towards totally wireless headphones, something that at present very few companies offer, the most famous being Apple and their one-size-fits-all AirPods. If you buy AirPods then you have no choice over colour or style, as there is only one design. However, most other wireless in-ear headphones are still connected to each other by a wire that then sits behind the head or neck, and Will.i.am’s own are no exception.
Popular with the fashion-conscious
Variety remains popular with people who are more fashion-conscious and wish to choose a product which offers more opportunity at creating a unique look. However, for those who want a completely wireless in-ear experience, AirPods are the most likely choice. With Will.i.am’s existing influence on the market, a move to totally wireless in-ear headphones throws a curveball to his competitors, and may force many of them to move towards something similar. We may even see a development from Apple themselves.
Music and fashion icon
Will.i.am William James Adams has been in the music industry since his childhood in L.A.. He is one of the founding members of The Black Eyed Peas and has released several solo albums. He is perhaps best known as a judge on The Voice UK. As well as being a world renowned musician, Will.i.am is a fashion designer and alumnus of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in L.A..
Endorsed by Apple
His own musical hardware company i.am+ already has wireless headphones on the market. The product, Buttons, has received both praise and criticism. Inspired by the look of vinyl records, they resemble earrings when worn. Their stylistic feature is a large metal disc which is joined to the headphone and sits inside the ear. They were first marketed as an accessory to the iPhone, with colours to match. Endorsed by Apple, they are sold in Apple Stores all over the world, as well as being available at many other retailers. Buttons are modelled by some famous faces, including Kendall Jenner. Her social media audience includes some 86 million followers and that sort of reach should not be underestimated.
Function vs Form
As technology has expanded into the wearable market, function is no longer the only thing consumers care about. The consumer now looks closer at design and how something feels to wear or have. Speaker systems are sold for their interior design potential as well as their strength and quality of sound, and the colour of a smartphone has become just as important as the speed of its processor.
If Will.i.am is planning to use the design features of Earin’s totally wireless headphones together with his unique fashion, we may see a new headphone emerge, one that could dominate the music hardware market and lead to customers wanting more from their headphones than just good sound quality.
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