US Customs seizing record numbers of fake AirPods

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited July 16
Around 360,000 counterfeit wireless headphones, including AirPods Pro have been seized by US officials since October 2020.

AirPods Pro
AirPods Pro


The recent seizure of fake AirPods in Cincinnati has proven to be only one of very many examples of counterfeits being intercepted. New figures from US Customs and Border Protection say that around 360,000 fake wireless headphones worth $62.2 million have been seized in the past nine months.

According to The Information, the figures are not broken down to reveal how many are specifically Apple products. However, it claims that the AirPods Pro are generally popular with counterfeiters because of their higher price than regular AirPods.

"Counterfeit products deliver an inferior experience, and they can often be dangerous," an Apple spokesperson told The Information. "Apple has teams around the world working with law enforcement, customs, merchants, social media companies and e-commerce sites to remove counterfeits."

"It's important for customers to have the confidence they are buying a genuine product, and not being tricked into thinking they're buying something that they're not," continued the spokesperson.

The figure of 360,000 counterfeits comes from the US Custom's fiscal year to date, which began in October 2020. For the whole of 2020, the agency seized 295,000 fakes, worth $61.7 million.

In comparison, for the whole of 2019, US Customs seized wireless headphones valuing up to $3.3 million.

Previously, the US Chamber of Commerce estimated in 2016 that the value of seized counterfeit goods represented only 2.5% of all those in existence. Apple maintains a dedicated anti-counterfeit team of its own.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,869member
    It's hard to imagine how they're pulling this off:   The magic of Airpods isn't their outward shape and appearance -- it's the guts inside that make them work and integrate with other Apple devices.   How would counterfitters copy that?  

    I'm wondering if these might be Airpods stolen from or manufactured on the side by Apple suppliers?
  • Reply 2 of 13
    shaminoshamino Posts: 474member
    If it's like the last time this made the news, then the new product doesn't look much like Apple's product and doesn't have any Apple branding but is somehow being accused of being "counterfeit" nevertheless.

    Apple is trying to pretend that they have an exclusive right to the concept of wireless earbuds and they're using US Customs to enforce that nonsense.  At least against small no-name companies.  They are steering clear of going after Samsung or other big players who are selling the same things.
    muthuk_vanalingamdarkvader
  • Reply 3 of 13
    tbstephtbsteph Posts: 93member
    shamino said:
    If it's like the last time this made the news, then the new product doesn't look much like Apple's product and doesn't have any Apple branding but is somehow being accused of being "counterfeit" nevertheless.

    Apple is trying to pretend that they have an exclusive right to the concept of wireless earbuds and they're using US Customs to enforce that nonsense.  At least against small no-name companies.  They are steering clear of going after Samsung or other big players who are selling the same things.
    Your source for the claims made in the 1st paragraph? 

    Conspiracy between Apple and US Customs Service? Wow! A bold claim with no apparent facts to back it up. 
    mwhiteBeatsronnRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    tbsteph said:
    shamino said:
    If it's like the last time this made the news, then the new product doesn't look much like Apple's product and doesn't have any Apple branding but is somehow being accused of being "counterfeit" nevertheless.

    Apple is trying to pretend that they have an exclusive right to the concept of wireless earbuds and they're using US Customs to enforce that nonsense.  At least against small no-name companies.  They are steering clear of going after Samsung or other big players who are selling the same things.
    Your source for the claims made in the 1st paragraph? 

    Conspiracy between Apple and US Customs Service? Wow! A bold claim with no apparent facts to back it up. 
    Feds seize OnePlus Buds, boast they're 'counterfeit' AirPods - General Discussion Discussions on AppleInsider Forums
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 5 of 13
    This bunch of pods isn't worth 62M. Real AirPods would, but these are worth 10 times less. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,441member
    I wonder how many of these knockoffs are from Huawei?


    ArchStantonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    bleabbleab Posts: 23member
    shamino said:
    Apple is trying to pretend that they have an exclusive right to the concept of wireless earbuds and they're using US Customs to enforce that nonsense.  At least against small no-name companies.  They are steering clear of going after Samsung or other big players who are selling the same things.
    Ummm ... no. Apple can't be trying to pretend that they have an exclusive right to the concept of wireless earbuds because Apple wasn't the first to patent or market such a device. The first true wireless earbuds were launched in 2015 by Onkyo a small Japanese company. At least 3 other small companies launched their own versions in 2015. The Onkyo device and at least one of the others were available internationally - including the U.S. - via Amazon and other ecommerce outlets. And then of course Samsung launched the Gear Icon X true wireless earbuds in July 2016. Meanwhile, AirPods launched in September 2016. So even though Apple clearly defined this category - as they did with the true smartwatch (as distinguished from RTOS fitness trackers) and to a lesser extent the iPhone - they were nowhere near the first. Also, even if they were the first, they still wouldn't be able to claim exclusive rights to it. If they could, Windows and Android would have never existed (for example).




    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,441member
    bleab said:
    shamino said:
    Apple is trying to pretend that they have an exclusive right to the concept of wireless earbuds and they're using US Customs to enforce that nonsense.  At least against small no-name companies.  They are steering clear of going after Samsung or other big players who are selling the same things.
    Ummm ... no. Apple can't be trying to pretend that they have an exclusive right to the concept of wireless earbuds because Apple wasn't the first to patent or market such a device. The first true wireless earbuds were launched in 2015 by Onkyo a small Japanese company. At least 3 other small companies launched their own versions in 2015. The Onkyo device and at least one of the others were available internationally - including the U.S. - via Amazon and other ecommerce outlets. And then of course Samsung launched the Gear Icon X true wireless earbuds in July 2016. Meanwhile, AirPods launched in September 2016. So even though Apple clearly defined this category - as they did with the true smartwatch (as distinguished from RTOS fitness trackers) and to a lesser extent the iPhone - they were nowhere near the first. Also, even if they were the first, they still wouldn't be able to claim exclusive rights to it. If they could, Windows and Android would have never existed (for example).





    There’s idiots out there who claim Apple developed AirPods in 2 months to copy the launch of GalaxyPods or whatever they’re called.

    Same with all other Apple products.

    Also, I wouldn’t call Onkyo a small company. They’ve been huge pre-iPhone era. I think Apple has every right to destroy products that copy their earbud designs. Luckily, Onkyo chooses to stay original.
    edited July 16 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    bleabbleab Posts: 23member
    Beats said:
    bleab said:
    shamino said:
    Apple is trying to pretend that they have an exclusive right to the concept of wireless earbuds and they're using US Customs to enforce that nonsense.  At least against small no-name companies.  They are steering clear of going after Samsung or other big players who are selling the same things.
    Ummm ... no. Apple can't be trying to pretend that they have an exclusive right to the concept of wireless earbuds because Apple wasn't the first to patent or market such a device. The first true wireless earbuds were launched in 2015 by Onkyo a small Japanese company. At least 3 other small companies launched their own versions in 2015. The Onkyo device and at least one of the others were available internationally - including the U.S. - via Amazon and other ecommerce outlets. And then of course Samsung launched the Gear Icon X true wireless earbuds in July 2016. Meanwhile, AirPods launched in September 2016. So even though Apple clearly defined this category - as they did with the true smartwatch (as distinguished from RTOS fitness trackers) and to a lesser extent the iPhone - they were nowhere near the first. Also, even if they were the first, they still wouldn't be able to claim exclusive rights to it. If they could, Windows and Android would have never existed (for example).





    There’s idiots out there who claim Apple developed AirPods in 2 months to copy the launch of GalaxyPods or whatever they’re called.

    Same with all other Apple products.

    Also, I wouldn’t call Onkyo a small company. They’ve been huge pre-iPhone era. I think Apple has every right to destroy products that copy their earbud designs. Luckily, Onkyo chooses to stay original.
    There are also people - including commenters here - who claim that Samsung studies the rumor mill (Prosser, Ming-Chi Kuo etc.) and Apple patents in order to copy Apple before Apple releases their products! The last time that talk was circulated was when Samsung released SmartTags, the AirTags competitors. Never mind that A. Samsung could have just as easily been copying Tile which has been around since 2013 or B. that Samsung created a similar device years ago via a partnership/promotion with another company. 

    As far as Onkyo, I do acknowledge having heard of them in the past. You are right that Apple should be able to go after AirPods copycats especially since Samsung, Sony, JBL, Anker etc. have had a lot of success with wireless earbuds that don't resemble AirPods at all. Of the major "branded" wireless earbuds, only OnePlus made AirPods knockoffs (and theirs were the only ones from a major manufacturer that were seized by US Customs).
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 10 of 13
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 540member
    The entire premise for the article is counterfeit. 

    Those ElitePods only resemblance to AirPods were that they were wireless earbuds.  Every US Customs officer involved in that theft should go to jail.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,406member
    I had a Onkyo component stereo receiver and an Onkyo component tape deck back in the 80s.  It was nice for the price range it was in.


    With regards to all the complainers.  There ARE a lot of cheap knockoff Airpods that are being sold as if they were real Apple Airpods.  Logos and everything.  I've seem them in person in Japan at little shops and online as well, and I suspect other no name knockoffs of Samsung and other major brand wireless ear buds. I suspect that is what the article is referring to mostly.  
  • Reply 12 of 13
    Another walk down Internet genius lane with a helping hand from trolls.  Many of the same on this thread are the ones explaining all about what is a monopoly. Funny.

    Apple (and any other companies) can't and don't claim that true wireless ear buds are there's exclusively. But they will have copyright and patent on certain elements and branding. If there are knockoffs trying to copy this, that is what is not legal. Duh!
    Articles like this emphasize sensationalism with reality being flexible. All high quality brand merchandise will have fakes put on the market. Rolex to Apple. We know where many of these fakes originate come from (a fair amount of trolls come from their too) and that's a secret to no-one of average thought capability. When millions of an item are sold and customs confiscate a couple of boxes of fakes, that's not even newsworthy. It's called business as usual. The sun rises in the east type news.

    Simple rules, don't buy from low reputation outlets. If the lowest price seen on an item is 190$ but there is a fly by night online retailer selling them for 100$, Think! T
    Also, these will not work as AirPods do and you'll learn that quick. They can't because of proprietary hardware and software that it runs. You'll also find out real quick how you may not get refunded. Play it smart, but from a reputable retailer. Bam, you don't have to worry about fakes.

  • Reply 13 of 13
    What about Facebook Marketplace?
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