Apple’s AirPods are undoubtedly the most popular true wireless earphones in the world, since it was one of the first TWS earphones and kind of gave the product category significant attention. Given that the AirPods are so much sought after, there are countless fake AirPods out there in the markets. One simple search on any e-commerce platform will show just how many counterfeit products are there. This creates a problem for Apple. First, if fools people into thinking they are buying actual Apple AirPods (mostly for a fraction of the price), and second, the potential threat to people’s online safety and privacy from such products.
According to a report in The Information, fake AirPods could cost Apple about $3.2 billion (roughly Rs 23,875 crores) in just 2021, in the US alone. This is based on the assumption that those who are buying fake AirPods are being fooled into buying them and would instead buy the original AirPods if the fake products did not exist in the market. The report cites data from the US Customs and Border Protection on seizures in the past nine months to say that counterfeit AirPods will cost Apple about $3.2 Billion in 2021. According US Customs and Border Protection data, about 3,60,000 counterfeit AirPods with a retail value of $62.2 million (roughly Rs 464 crores). These were only a fraction of devices that were made. The report says that seizures of counterfeit headphones increased from $3.3 million (roughly Rs 24.6 crores) worth from the year before.
This is, however, based on an assumption. Many a times the intention behind buying fake AirPods is the fact that the buyer can’t afford to spend about Rs 10,000 (at least) on a pair of earphones and fake AirPods are available at a fraction of a cost.
Apple was also quoted as saying that fake AirPods are not just an issue in terms of lost revenue, but they pose a threat to users’ safety. “Counterfeit products deliver an inferior experience, and they can often be dangerous,” an Apple spokesperson was quoted as saying. The report also says that AirPods are a popular target for counterfeiters because it is much easier to make a functional pair of AirPods than a working iPhone or Apple Watch. It cites former employees as saying that some of these fake AirPods are made from genuine molds that were stolen from factories that work with Apple.
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