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Beijing police have shut down a large iPhone counterfeiting ring within the city that had managed to produce more than 41,000 fake versions of the flagship smartphone, some of which even managed to reach the United States (via Reuters). All told, the ring's counterfeit production had grown to be worth as much as 120 million yuan (about $19 million).

The police have arrested a total of nine suspects thought to be involved directly in the counterfeiting operation, all due to a combined effort to enforce stricter counterfeit and intellectual property laws in China. Of the nine arrested were a 43-year-old man and his 40-year-old wife, whom police believe ran the counterfeit scam under a gadget maintenance shop front before the operation was raided in May.

iphone6-stock.jpg

The information is just coming out today, however, thanks to a social media post from the public security bureau in Beijing, which said the couple had set up the factory in January, beginning with as many as six assembly lines and "hundreds" of workers. The raid, which took place on May 14 thanks to a tip from United States authorities, ended with the police seizing as many as 1,400 counterfeit smartphones and "large quantities" of accessories.

The counterfeit iPhone -- and now Apple Watch -- market has grown in China since the device's debut, and only became more prevalent a few years back when entire counterfeit Apple Stores were discovered by a blogger who posted photos of the false retail stores online. China remains a big target for Apple, with the company stating during last week's earning call that the country is positioned to be its "largest market in the future." It's already begun to affect changes in the design of its products, with Tim Cook confirming that Chinese consumer tastes are the main reason behind the new gold color options of the iPhone, MacBook, and Apple Watch lines.

Article Link: Beijing Police Shut Down Large-Scale Factory That Made Over 41,000 Counterfeit iPhones
 

0098386

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Jan 18, 2005
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When they say counterfeit devices, do they mean they're stolen components/chips/whatever and they operate as a real iPhone? Or do they just look familiar? Because I can't imagine how the latter could be illegal. But then again I'm not up on all this copyright stuff.
 
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Nunyabinez

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2010
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When they say counterfeit devices, do they mean they're stolen components/chips/whatever and they operate as a real iPhone? Or do they just look familiar? Because I can't imagine how the latter could be illegal. But then again I'm not up on all this copyright stuff.

I am also curious about this. I have over the years acquired a few counterfeit iPods, but they weren't running an Apple OS. I guess it could be illegal if they were being passed off as legitimate iPhones. I don't recall ever seeing a counterfeit Apple device (not accessory or charger) that actually was working just like the original, OS and all.

iphone-gas-stove.jpg
 
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unplugme71

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May 20, 2011
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So does that mean my warranty is voided on my iPhone?

The police really should have considered the effects consumers have on this. What happens if something breaks or I need a part replaced? This is really really disruptive!



so
much
sarcasm
 
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ArtOfWarfare

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Nov 26, 2007
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When they say counterfeit devices, do they mean they're stolen components/chips/whatever and they operate as a real iPhone? Or do they just look familiar? Because I can't imagine how the latter could be illegal. But then again I'm not up on all this copyright stuff.

I sell it to you telling you it's an Apple iPhone, and the box says it's an Apple iPhone, but it's not an Apple iPhone. That's how counterfeiting works. It's a convincing fake that was sold as if it was the real deal.

I am curious - why can't someone make a true knockoff of the iPhone, a hackiPhone, if you will? Build something that looks like a real iPhone using off the shelf parts, then install iOS on it (possibly modified to boot without some missing parts that you couldn't find off the shelf.)

There's a market for Hackintoshs (non Apple computers that run OS X); why not the same thing for iOS?
 
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Nunyabinez

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Apr 27, 2010
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Provo, UT
I am curious - why can't someone make a true knockoff of the iPhone, a hackiPhone, if you will? Build something that looks like a real iPhone using off the shelf parts, then install iOS on it (possibly modified to boot without some missing parts that you couldn't find off the shelf.)

There's a market for Hackintoshs (non Apple computers that run OS X); why not the same thing for iOS?

I imagine it's the fact that the iPhone uses a custom chip. Hackintoshing only happened when Apple moved to Intel CPUs. The manpower to reverse engineer a chip is probably too steep to make it a viable market. And with lots of compatible hardware available, there is a vibrant community around hackintoshing that makes it fairly easy even for novices to do it now. I don't see much of an actual market for hackintoshes though (i.e. anyone selling lots of them), so probably not a market for selling hacked iPhones. It's more lucrative to rip off with look-a-likes.
 
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0098386

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I sell it to you telling you it's an Apple iPhone, and the box says it's an Apple iPhone, but it's not an Apple iPhone. That's how counterfeiting works. It's a convincing fake that was sold as if it was the real deal.

I am curious - why can't someone make a true knockoff of the iPhone, a hackiPhone, if you will? Build something that looks like a real iPhone using off the shelf parts, then install iOS on it (possibly modified to boot without some missing parts that you couldn't find off the shelf.)

There's a market for Hackintoshs (non Apple computers that run OS X); why not the same thing for iOS?
That makes sense. I thought they would have gone down that hackiPhone route you spoke about. Off the shelf parts, or even stolen iPhone parts, running Apple's own OS.

Back when the first iPhone launched my cousin had imported a bunch of lookalike phones from China. I don't know if they were android (did it even exist then?). Inside they had a dual-sim slot and ran a similar looking OS though it wasn't marketed as an iPhone.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

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Nov 26, 2007
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Back when the first iPhone launched my cousin had imported a bunch of lookalike phones from China. I don't know if they were android (did it even exist then?). Inside they had a dual-sim slot and ran a similar looking OS though it wasn't marketed as an iPhone.

There were early versions of Android starting in 2003. The first beta version of Android was released in November 2007 (a few months after the iPhone was released) and the first release version was released September 2008. So if you're counting all the pre-release previews, Android was shown many years before the first iPhone was. If you're talking about a commercially released version, the iPhone beat it by over a year.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_version_history
 
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