Klipsch Will Debut the Smallest, Lightest True Wireless Earbuds Ever This Fall
Audio tech mainstay Klipsch announced several new true wireless earbud models at CES this year, including what it calls the smallest and lightest model ever built. The T10 model of what the company calls “Ear Computers” are being built in a partnership with tech miniaturization specialist firm Ear Micro.
Tiny, but Powerful
Klipsch only entered the true wireless earbud market in 2019, 72 years after its founding, when it released the oval-tipped T5 model of earbuds. The T10 goes well beyond that model in design and price. They weigh 3.56 grams, compared to the 5.4 gram-weight of Apple’s Airpod Pro. Despite their tiny size, the earbuds offer active noise cancellation and six hours of battery life before needing to go back into the guitar pick-shaped charging case. Most notably, they include a built-in artificial intelligence that understands voice and gesture commands. The voice assistant will be proprietary, though Klipsch hasn’t said if it will be built on an existing platform or created entirely in-house.
“[Ear Micro was] an early mover in the hearables space, developing and packaging exciting IP and technical know-how that allows them to squeeze the computer circuit down into form factors that are a fraction of what anyone else in the world has accomplished,” Klipsch marketing director Rob Standley said in a statement. “When you look at something like an AirPod, or some of the other small true-wireless earphones out in the market, Ear Micro’s breakthroughs enable a form factor between 50% to 75% smaller, yet pack much more powerful processing capabilities.”
Packing all of the power of the T10 into such a small space isn’t cheap. The T10 earbuds are slated to cost $650 when they come out in the fall, $400 more than the AirPods Pro. The $250 price point is starting to become a minimum price for the very high-end hearables, as that’s also the price of Microsoft’s new Surface Earbuds. The Nuheara IQ Buds Max, also announced at CES, comes in at $400, which is still significantly cheaper than the T10. New hearables with smaller price tags are also funneling out this year, including two JBL models announced at CES priced at $150 and $100. There are also the $130 Amazon Echo Buds, and the long-delayed Google Pixel Buds, which will run $180 a pair.
The scramble for the hearables market makes sense when considering the expected expansion of the market. A Gartner report last year estimated that consumers will spend 27% more on wearable technology, including hearables, in 2020 than in 2019, a total of $52 billion. And IDC reported in September that hearables are the largest wearables device category, making up close to half the total volume. Klipsch clearly sees room way up at the top for the T10.