While this might surprise many, it should be known that there is a sea of fake TWS earbuds out there especially AirPod Pro all of which can’t be really identified from the real ones.
The number of counterfeit TWS earbuds seized by the US border security agency in the year 2021 alone has surpassed those in 2020 altogether according to a report from The Information. It’s a sign of how eager the makers of these knockoffs are to keep riding the sustained popularity of earbuds like Apple’s AirPods and those from Samsung, Jabra, Bose, Sony, and other companies.
The number of counterfeit wireless headphones gotten was about 360,000 in number and valued at US$62.2 million all of which were seized in the first nine months of fiscal 2021 which is above the 295,000 pairs confiscated during the whole fiscal 2020.
The majority of these fake devices came from China and their maker sees a huge opportunity to sell in the US market where there is a high demand for wireless headphones.
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Strategy Analytics forecasted worldwide sales of Bluetooth headsets to be more than 300 million in 2020, and the true wireless earbuds market surged by 90 percent. Apple still however leads the market with the company raking in about US$16 billion in AirPods sales just last year according to The Information report.
Aside from being AirPods counterfeits, many Chinese brands such as OnePlus, Xiaomi and Huawei have all had to outright clone the design aesthetics of the AirPods with OnePlus having to deal with a controversial US Custom seizure of its shipment last September when its earbuds were described as counterfeit AirPods.
Some counterfeit earbuds are suspected to have been created “with genuine molds stolen from factories that work with Apple.” Others can mimic the AirPods pairing process on an iPhone and display a proper Apple serial number. But even in these situations, there are still subtle tells (like a bogus firmware version) that reveal a product as a fraud.
The design language of the device makes it quite easy to be cloned by anyone and that is what many of the clone makers have been doing with different AirPods color options out there on platforms like Amazon, AliExpress, or Banggood giving consumers the chance to get a separate AirPods (lookalike) in a different color option.