Have you ever seen AirPods that look exactly like Apple’s, but the box would say something like ‘Abble AirPods?’ Sometimes, manufacturers of counterfeit products don’t even change the company’s name on the box in an attempt to trick the consumers into thinking that they are genuine products.
Most of us are aware of this and have probably come across these products multiple times. Recently, a series of CT scans were done by Lumafield (via Yahoo News) on real and fake AirPods to see how different they are inside.
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So, apart from sounding terrible, how bad are these fake products? The scans show that they skimp on a lot of internal components that the Apple AirPods feature. “[An AirPod Pro is] a marvel of miniaturization,” writes Lumafield’s Jon Bruner at the start of a Twitter/X thread showing the CT scans. “Everything is packed into the curved enclosure efficiently with tightly integrated flexible PCBs.”
The fakes look nothing like this on the inside. “The fakes have a lot less going on. Components are connected by wires, not flexible PCBs. You won’t find wires like this in any modern mobile Apple product”, he continues.
These products use wires instead of PCBs, and even the wires are soldered very poorly. He also highlights “the lack of magnets, lower-quality plastic, and smaller batteries” in the fake ones and also mentions their significantly lighter weight. “To make up for the difference, their cases have weights,” he says.
For some people, the sound quality isn’t important so long as the fakes look like enough Apple AirPods. Their aim is to show people they’re wearing an Apple product. It’s the same when someone knowingly buys a knockoff handbag or pair of sneakers. This is the group of people that the folks behind making fake products absolutely adore.
While all of this is helpful information to distinguish between real and fake AirPods, an extraordinarily dramatic price cut is another very common sign that always gives it away anyway. Apple’s AirPods are not going to retail for $19, even on Cyber Monday.