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The surging popularity of AirPods has reportedly resulted in record numbers of counterfeit wireless headphones being seized at the U.S. border.

fakeairpodsdesign.jpg

According to The Information's Wayne Ma, roughly 360,000 counterfeit wireless headphones with a retail value of $62.2 million were confiscated in the first nine months of the U.S. government's fiscal year, based on data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. By comparison, the report claims 295,000 counterfeits with a retail value of $61.7 million were seized at the U.S. border in the entire 2020 fiscal year.

U.S. Customs told The Information that 80% of all counterfeit products coming into the U.S. were from mainland China or Hong Kong. While it's unclear how many of the seized counterfeit headphones were AirPods, U.S. Customs said seizures have increased 50% in the past five years as products such as Apple's earbuds have gained popularity.

The retail value of counterfeit wireless headphones seized by U.S. Customs appears to have skyrocketed following the release of AirPods Pro in October 2019.

the-information-airpods-chart.jpeg

MacRumors shared a comparison of real and fake AirPods Pro back in 2019:


The Information examined counterfeit AirPods Pro sold in Hong Kong in December, noting that they had a genuine Apple serial number and were physically indistinguishable from legitimate AirPods Pro, and even had functional active noise cancellation and Transparency mode features. The report claims one of the only ways to determine that the AirPods were fake was by looking up their firmware version, which was incorrect.

Article Link: U.S. Customs Seizing Record Numbers of Counterfeit Wireless Headphones Since AirPods Pro Launched
 
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This can be prevented if Apple decided to work with the U.S. customs closely.

Here to help!

 
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jmgregory1

macrumors 68030
It’s not a surprise that this is happening. Counterfeit AirPods have a much bigger market than what we used to hear about - like Gucci bags, Rolex’s and the like. They’re also disposable products, even when they’re actual Apple products, so it’s easier to get repeat sales. And if they have similar sound quality and work similarly, it can be an easy decision when they’re a fraction of the price of the real thing.
 
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IIGS User

macrumors 6502a
Feb 24, 2019
916
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I would just lose something like that anyway.

Sticking with my Bose QC35's (not the II's, I got the old model after the new ones came out to save some bones).

I use these mostly when riding the lawn tractor or on flights. I can SO see one of these ear buds going into the mower deck and coming out the most expensive mulch by volume I ever purchased.

On top of it, my ears are full of waxy nastiness....
 

robjulo

Suspended
Jul 16, 2010
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Do these numbers include Customs stealing 2000 pairs of One Plus Buds back in 2020?
 

sw1tcher

macrumors 68040
Jan 6, 2004
3,730
9,888
The report claims one of the only ways to determine that the AirPods were fake was by looking up their firmware version, which was incorrect.
U.S. Customs helping counterfeiters fix their mistakes. ?

1) But a real pair of AirPods Pro
2) Get firmware version from it
3) Use that firmware version in your counterfeit product to avoid U.S. Customs detection
4) Profit
 

npmacuser5

macrumors 68000
Apr 10, 2015
1,600
1,767
Sum up the fix in two words, Distribution Channel. If a product does not pass through a certified Distribution Channel, it is fake. The businesses know they are purchasing fake products. They are buying from and selling outside of the approved channels. We the consumers need to be aware of to good a price and how did it get here for every product. Why when it comes to important products, like Apple products. I will only buy directly from Apple or trusted sellers like Best Buy. Price is only one factor in the value of any product.
 

W2u7Yw4HaD

macrumors regular
Jul 26, 2005
151
246
I like how the Customs Service determines the estimated retail value of the counterfeits by using the price of the Apple product and not how much the counterfeits actually sell for.
All customs do that with drug busts also.. They like to show bigger numbers.. No surprise there..
 

Morgenland

macrumors 65816
May 28, 2009
1,478
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Europe
It’s not a surprise that this is happening. Counterfeit AirPods have a much bigger market than what we used to hear about - like Gucci bags, Rolex’s and the like. They’re also disposable products, even when they’re actual Apple products, so it’s easier to get repeat sales. And if they have similar sound quality and work similarly, it can be an easy decision when they’re a fraction of the price of the real thing.
Gregory, does it depend on your wallet whether you support and like criminal organizations?
When Americans applaud product pirates, they abolish themselves, dear Gregory.
 
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sw1tcher

macrumors 68040
Jan 6, 2004
3,730
9,888
Sum up the fix in two words, Distribution Channel. If a product does not pass through a certified Distribution Channel, it is fake. The businesses know they are purchasing fake products. They are buying from and selling outside of the approved channels.
How is fixing the distribution channel that counterfeit product sellers aren't using going to solve the counterfeit problem? :confused:
 
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soanis

macrumors regular
Apr 15, 2013
160
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Europe
I’ve actually seen iOS respond with the actual animation when opening an OG AP case, to third party earphones that weren’t even fake AirPods.
how is that even possible??
 

jmgregory1

macrumors 68030
Gregory, does it depend on your wallet whether you support and like criminal organizations?
When Americans applaud product pirates, they abolish themselves, dear Gregory.
Not sure why you think I support counterfeit products or criminal organizations? I’m just pointing out that it’s been an easy product category for counterfeiters to go after.
 

Morgenland

macrumors 65816
May 28, 2009
1,478
2,210
Europe
Not sure why you think I support counterfeit products or criminal organizations? I’m just pointing out that it’s been an easy product category for counterfeiters to go after.
'it can be an easy decision' (to buy or sell them)

Not for me. Neither nor.
If I congratulate my son or daughter for buying a plagiarized product, or find it understandable or encourage them to do so, then I would have reached the lowest point of my life.

In the case described here, it will be exciting to see whether Apple succeeds in stopping parallel illegal distribution channels in China. Of course, such gangs are more difficult to detect there.
I suspect that the penalties for distribution platforms within America will have to be drastically increased. Alibaba, Aliexpress and the like can be opposed with customs as usual. If it is staffed to do so.
 
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jml1982

macrumors member
Aug 31, 2015
92
408
AirPods work great.
Sometimes they work great. It's not a seamless experience like I thought it would be. If I pause an audio book on my phone while music is playing from my laptop over bluetooth speakers, it switches to my headphones. Super annoying.
 
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