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Move over Humane and Rabbit, this startup wants to put generative AI in your ears

You can now pre-order the Google-backed Iyo One earbuds, if you have at least $599 to spare.

Published onMay 29, 2024

A person wearing the Iyo One GenAI earbuds.
  • Iyo One are Google-backed TWS earbuds that offer generative AI capabilities without necessarily needing a paired smartphone.
  • You can pre-order the Wi-Fi-only model for $599, while the Wi-Fi + LTE variant (which works independently) costs $699.
  • Iyo One’s features include noise cancelation, conversation boosting, workout coaching, real-time language translation, 360-degree immersive audio, and more.

AI has taken the world by storm, and companies have been looking into ways to integrate this technology into our daily lives further. While the Humane AI Pin and Rabbit R1 have flopped, a Google-backed startup hopes to win customers by taking a different approach. Instead of inventing an all-new gadget that no one needs, Iyo is baking generative AI into a product category we already use. The Iyo One are AI-powered TWS earbuds that you can now pre-order for a starting price of $599.

The Iyo One will ship next winter (via TechCrunch), packing several handy audio-centric features. For starters, the company already sells a $1,650 in-ear studio reference monitor, and it’s using its reputation and expertise in this field to push Iyo One forward. Add Google’s backing and people’s heavy reliance on TWS earbuds to the mix, and you’ve got a solid foundation to start with.

Iyo isn’t selling an AI-only wearable. Instead, it’s offering a pair of premium earbuds with AI powers that complement them. So, even when users aren’t relying on its digital smarts, the device will continue to serve them when listening to music or podcasts. It’s, ahem, not a useless gadget that could’ve been an app.

Notably, Iyo won’t charge its users a subscription fee to use the bundled generative AI features. It’s just a one-time payment of $599 or $699 for the Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + LTE model.

The former variant expectedly requires a connected smartphone to function and boasts a 16-hour battery life. On the other hand, the latter works independently but reduces the battery life to just one hour and a half when connected to a cellular network. Naturally, cellular users will have to pay for a data plan separately.

Moving on to features, the Iyo One offers noise cancelation, conversation boosting, immersive 360-degree audio, live translation, workout coaching, and access to the company’s “growing ecosystem of conversational applications.”

The Iyo One earbuds have an IP68 rating, a billet titanium design with three color options, in-ear silicone tips, and a hard-shell case. You can now pre-order a unit by placing a $59 or $69 deposit — based on the model you opt for. However, given that companies like Nothing are already rolling out ChatGPT integration to their more affordable earbuds, you may want to think twice before proceeding with this pricy purchase.

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