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China Crime Piracy Apple

Knock-Off Apple Watches Hit the Chinese Market Less Than 24 Hours After Launch 156

schwit1 writes Fake versions of the Apple Watch can be bought for as little as £25 — despite the fact the real thing will set you back more than 10 times that. The flagship new product was only launched in San Francisco yesterday but knock-offs are already available in China. According to CNN Money, they can be found at Huaqiangbei electronics market in the southern city of Shenzhen, and others are being sold nationwide via popular e-commerce websites. Right down to the digital crown, the fakes mimic the design and style of Apple's new offering.
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Knock-Off Apple Watches Hit the Chinese Market Less Than 24 Hours After Launch

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  • I can't wait to get one of these newfangled Crapple iSpy watches. I wonder if they even connect to smartphones.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Of course they do. How else will the Chinese government hack into your phone?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The funny thing is that the knock-off watches are better than the actual Apple watch. They run Android so they are more open, have a bigger and better library of software and can be used with any phone. Also, they only cost $40.

    • Why do you think it's ispy? No camera, health data is stored locally, many privacy pledges by apple which is more than google does.

    • I've had good luck pairing my Magnetbox Bluetoof speakers to my Sandsung Galaxian phone. I think this will be just fine.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will they blend?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    All hail the mighty Mapple.

  • Do you really think that the 'fake' watches don't come from the same Chinese factory as the 'real' ones?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @06:16PM (#49237057)

      Yes, since the design of the fakes doesn't match that of the real ones. They are just close copies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      In this case, yes. These fakes don't have the same components or run the same software as the real ones. They merely aped the design of the enclosure.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @06:22PM (#49237105)

      The joke is, most folks who are willing to spend $10,000 for watch won't be able to tell the fake ones from the real ones.

      • This is why I have a hard time buying luxury goods where the brand is more important than some tangible functionality.

        If I cannot tell the difference between a $100 watch and a $10,000 watch by its accuracy or functionality, I open myself up to being deceived by people who exploit that people cannot tell the difference.

        I don't need to be told a luxury story about how a watch is an expression of my adventurousness or legacy, to part me with $10,000 more than the next equally functional good is worth.
        • by Threni ( 635302 )

          Very few things are "worth" what they cost. I mean, sure, on one level things are worth exactly what they cost. But on another level there's the cost of the raw materials and the labour required to assemble them, and the factory and its running costs etc. Do you include marketing? Shipping? R&D which is required up front but not to manufacture. A $600 smartphone costs $100 or so to build, and less after a while. What's it worth - $100 or $600? Is it "better" than a $100 smartphone? A smartwatch

          • I wear a Citizen Quartz watch which cost me about $NZ100 in about 2006. It is a nice watch, it keeps pretty accurate time and shows the day and date. When I bought it there were lots of other watches for sale. I could have spend $20 or $8,000, but around $100 seemed the appropriate price based on my income and the quality on offer. When the time comes for me to replace my watch, I will need to consider whether a connection to my smartphone is something I need, so I will consider whatever smartwatches are av
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Musc ( 10581 )

            You need to study some basic economic concepts.

            The WORTH of something is (correctly and with good reason) completely decoupled from the amount of money it COSTS to make.
            The worth of something is how much the consumer is defined as the maximum he/she is willing to pay, according to the benefits he/she subjectively feels he/she the purchase would yield

            Those subjective benefits can be in regards to the technical merits, the the aesthetic appeal, an irrational emotional response, or anything else. The PRICE is

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

              What you call economic concepts are really more extreme capitalist concepts. Let's try again:

              The WORTH of something is (correctly and with good reason) completely decoupled from the amount of money it COSTS to make.
              The worth of something is how much the consumer is defined either subjectively by the consumer or by society's mandated access to it (e.g. air, water).

              Those subjective benefits can be in regards to the technical merits, the the aesthetic appeal, an irrational emotional response, or anything else.

          • Very few things are "worth" what they cost. I mean, sure, on one level things are worth exactly what they cost. But on another level there's the cost of the raw materials and the labour required to assemble them, and the factory and its running costs etc. Do you include marketing? Shipping? R&D which is required up front but not to manufacture. A $600 smartphone costs $100 or so to build, and less after a while. What's it worth - $100 or $600?

            Very few things are worth what they cost...aside from the value-added things you mention, profit enters the mix as a reasonable consideration a company must account for if remaining in business is part of the mission statement.

            Apple's products are Veblen goods of the most coveted sort: profitable and popular.

            Things are always and only worth what you can get for them.

        • If I pay $10,000 dollars for a watch, it better damn well cause me to have an orgasm every four hours (accurate to a billionth of a second per 40 thousand years).

      • I wonder if a jeweler will be able to tell the difference.

        Ordinary watches have been the domain of jewelers for centuries. Now, they will need to start learning about digital technology.
    • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @06:31PM (#49237149)

      They definitely do not. Apple is a huge customer. Just, startlingly huge. I once spoke to an Apple guy at a trade show. He wanted to know if our company could produce enough machines to assemble a part that they were musing about. We are the largest manufacturer in the world of the equipment that we make - something like 70% market share. I kind of laughed at first, since I figured there was no way they would tax our capacity. Then we started talking numbers, and it quickly became clear that we would have to resort to extraordinary measures to have any chance at meeting their demand. They are a massive operation, and if you are a vendor of theirs you don't need to share factory floor space with other customers - and certainly not knock offs of their products.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They are a massive operation, and if you are a vendor of theirs you don't need to share factory floor space with other customers - and certainly not knock offs of their products.

        The problem is that you knock a lot of other customers out of the way to take care of Apple, and they become your only huge customer. Then they pull the rug out from you and your left with no customers. [extremetech.com]

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          At some point, being too dependant on one huge customer is only barely different from being owned by the customer. The difference being is that the customer takes none of the risk, but gets all the benefits. The customer can even leverage their position of power over the company to renegotiate deals, dictate terms, meddle with the internal affairs of the company, and other such abuses. And as the article shows, some huge customers do not give a damn about what will happen when (not if) they eventually dump

        • The place I work is one of General Motor's bitches. We supply them and haven't been able to sell to other customers (our sales team claims. I think they just like being GM bitches.)

        • That is a danger, but I think we would approach it as a one-off. We make capital equipment and so are used to ramping up and down. It's all fantasy-land anyway, since nothing ever came of it - I was just struck by the scale they operate at.

      • Chinese manufacturing is also unimaginably huge. Foxconn manufactures Apple's iPhones and iPads, but they also manufacture Kindles, PS4s, XB1s, and Wii Us. If you think about the capacity they must need to meet peak demand for new iPhone models, they most certainly share factory floor space during off-peak seasons. Many companies have been ruined by overramping their capacity and workforce to meet peak demand and then facing the music when the expected orders don't continue to roll in. Smart companies

        • Yes, but inventory is going to be pretty tightly controlled by Apple. Foxconn couldn't just set up a little side business pumping out a few extras here and there without Apple noticing the missing parts.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That may be true but I can 100% guarantee the real designs were stolen and then manufactured by someone else. Happens to everything over there.

        But don't go thinking that just because it's based on the real design that it's going to be anything equivalent. They will use low-end failure-prone parts and build them in a contaminated environment by an unskilled workforce. That's how they get the low price.

        • That may be true but I can 100% guarantee the real designs were stolen and then manufactured by someone else. Happens to everything over there.

          That is absolutely true. I know our designs go to our competitors and vice versa. That said, it would be extremely hard to produce some of the things Apple does - if you could even source the parts - while significantly undercutting their price. They really do push the envelope on miniaturization of the form factor. I suppose you could cheat if you used a bulkier layout and sacrificed battery size or something... but that is diverging from the design. The knock-off maker is going to want to avoid as much R

      • Oh you assume they share the factory floor? No that's not how fake products work.

        Fake products are often no different to real ones. Sometimes it's the result of a production run at a time where there's no supposed to be one, working a shift that isn't supposed to exist without oversight or QC, and sometimes it is purely people stealing products and having them hit the grey market to make a little more money on the side.

        This would all be a great disaster if management found out, if it weren't for high levels

        • Fake products are often no different to real ones.

          Well, not really.

          sometimes it is purely people stealing products and having them hit the grey market to make a little more money on the side

          But that's not a fake product, that's just stolen and potentially unserialized product. Most fake products differ from the official products at least in quality of components. Switches, caps, anything that can get cheaper does get cheaper. Odds are most of that stuff is built the same way, on the same production lines but during off hours and using inferior materials.

          • It is within the standard definition of fake. The product does not show up on formal documentation, will lack or have incorrect serial numbers and generally lack any form of quality control shipping everything out without oversight.

            There are a big range of what is considered a "fake". It could be a piece of shit with "Appel" written on it (likely) but you can't discount the fact that it could be the exact same device made from the exact same factory. The Chinese are well known for this practice.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      In this case almost certainly not. This is not some guy in his spare bedroom emailing specs to a Chinese supplier. This is a *big* client with the resources to keep tabs on its supplier launching a high profile product that hopefully will sell bucket loads of units. You'd have to be a moron to mess with them.

    • Possibly, but for 25£ they are too expensive anyway.

    • I'm not quite sure how some people delude themselves as much as you do.

      The maker of this watch has too much to lose by making fakes in their factories. They would be killing the golden goose.

      I'm sure there are some counterfeits which are really just "night production". But to assume this is the case in all cases and here is a failure to really put much thought into it.

      Have you read the reviews of the fakes?

      http://mashable.com/2015/01/08... [mashable.com]

      It's clear they don't have the same parts. It doesn't even have the s

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @06:15PM (#49237055) Journal
    But the important question - Do they work?

    ...Because a sub-$100 knock-off counts as the only way I'll ever try one.
    • Good for you! *clap clap*. If you want to try a real one you have to buy a real one. Buying a fake one is like sitting in a bathtub claiming you're on the beach.
    • by xaxa ( 988988 )

      But the important question - Do they work?

      Probably, but probably not especially well. Spend a bit more for the Chinese watch that isn't trying to be Apple, where the effort has gone into features, not imitation.

      My flatmate bought an "iPhone 6" in Albania for about £40. He was convinced it was real, to the point that he's contacted Apple UK support because it wouldn't charge properly.

      I haven't handled an iPhone 6, but I thought the buttons seemed a bit wobbly, although the rest of the case was convincing. The graphics were spot on, and smoo

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      There are some pretty insane smart watches on eBay and AliExpress. They aren't just auxiliary displays for smart phones, they have their own SIM sockets and run a full Android OS. Battery life claims to be a day but that's about as credible as the Apple Watch's 18 hours...

    • by SumDog ( 466607 )

      This is such a shit article. They're not knock-off eyeWatches. They run some crappy OS or some modified Android. It's like those shit game systems that have like 10 old Atari games in an emulator.

      I'd be more impressed if they got a hold of the firmware and made actual, working Apple watch knock-offs at a fraction of the price. That would actually be impressive and pretty awesome (fuck their overpriced watch. Get a pebble. You don't have to charge it every fucking day).

  • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @06:17PM (#49237059)

    This is one of the "hidden" [brown.edu] costs of doing business in China. You can pretty much count on the theft and exploitation of your designs. How dare they exploit us back!

    However, given the fact that this is a luxury good and status symbol, I don't think Apple is too worried about this, except if consumers are fooled into buying one. No one wants to show off a knock-off status symbol. It defeats the entire purpose.

    • If this had been made in Brazil, Chinese companies would still have copied the basic design. You can also get fake rolexes in China, and those are made in Switzerland (according to 3 seconds of Googling).

      They didn't use the same factory, so the country of the original is a basically irrelevant point.

      • by AaronW ( 33736 )

        I know someone with a fake Chinese "Rolex" watch and it's a damned good copy. My cousin has a real one. Side by side it was virtually impossible to tell them apart. The fake one even had the same hologram on the back and the movements looked the same. The fake one keeps excellent time as well and the workmanship is top notch. Opening them up one can tell the difference. The wording on the inside of the back looks like they intentionally made it different. The works were made in Switzerland though. This wasn

    • I don't think Apple is too worried about this, except if consumers are fooled into buying one. No one wants to show off a knock-off status symbol. It defeats the entire purpose.

      But someone who buys a knock-off is not generally going to announce to people that it is a knock-off. So, if it looks the part, the knock-off is going to be just as effective as a staus symbol as the real thing.

      Or just as ineffective. The very existence of the knock-offs defeats the status symbol, because even if you buy that $10,000 one, people are just going to assume that it is a knock-off.

      I knew a woman who owned a really large diamond, worn in a necklace. When people saw it they would ask if

      • Or just as ineffective. The very existence of the knock-offs defeats the status symbol, because even if you buy that $10,000 one, people are just going to assume that it is a knock-off.

        There are plenty of Rollex watches and Rolodex watches around. And you'd have to be blind to not see the difference.

        • by AaronW ( 33736 )

          Some of the knock-offs are actually quite good and very difficult to spot the differences. They're not the $40 ones though. As I have said in other posts, I know someone with some of these fake watches and holding them side by side with the real thing it's impossible to spot the difference. The movement is the same, the same workmanship, everything. Only opening them up can you spot the difference, though the works in the fake "Rolex" were made in Switzerland.

    • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @07:54PM (#49237689)
      Yep. Many companies have gone bankrupt because some new executive decides to outsource production to China. The new executive is naive enough to believe that a Chinese company will honor the non-disclosure agreement and won't sell critical trade secrets to everyone else. Manufacturing is moved overseas, stateside employees are laid off, the business suffers initial losses because the Chinese company hasn't figured out how to actually perform the process correctly yet, and then a few months later the company goes entirely bankrupt because their trade secrets are now suddenly common knowledge in the entire industry.

      The executive then gets another bright idea: they'll sue the Chinese company to recover damages! If the Chinese company still exists by this point (unlikely), they'll win in court because, to no one's surprise, the Chinese government doesn't give a fuck about protecting American IP rights. Much money is burned, legal fees are collected, the executive staff gets a golden parachute, and all the hard working American employees are shit out of luck and scrambling to find jobs at another American company that will make the same fucking mistakes as their previous employer.
      • Did this actually happen or did you just make it all up? Citation, please. Foreign companies and sue and win in Chinese courts and do so all the time. Sounds like your ideas are stuck in a decade ago, but honestly it wasn't like that even then.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        No need to sell trade secrets or break the NDA. Most of the clones just reverse engineer the original the old fashioned way. Fake iPhones run Android with a very good iOS skin, for example. There would be little point copying the iPhone hardware any more than superficially if you wanted to run Android anyway.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Ever look at the trade surplus China has with the U.S? Your flip comment of "How dare they exploit us back!" has no relevance.

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @06:19PM (#49237073)

    Took them long enough!

  • Will they be legal for sale in the USA, or will design patents prevent that?

    • Presumably it will be illegal, just as many other knockoffs are illegal. It's also very likely that many of them violate Apple's trademark as well so even without design patents these would still run afoul of the law.
    • Will they be legal for sale in the USA, or will design patents prevent that?

      Design patents would be relevant if someone tried to sell these watches under their own name. That's unlikely to happen. They will be sold as "Apple Watches". What makes this illegal is that it is fraud, and that it is infringing on a trademark.

      Interestingly, if someone sells a cheap watch that looks like an Apple Watch and you think it is so cheap because it is stolen, and buy it, you are in the USA legally guilty of an attempt to buy stolen goods (it would obviously be hard to prove that you believed i

  • They were available weeks ago actually. Didn't slashdot already host a link to a review of one even?

  • by Moridineas ( 213502 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @06:32PM (#49237161) Journal

    What will they think of next--fake Rolex watches? Fake Oakley sunglasses? I'm shocked--SHOCKED--by this most recent development.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @06:38PM (#49237191) Homepage Journal

    Wow, 24 hours after launch? That's AMAZING! That is, if you ignore the fact that precise measurements and high-res images of the real thing have been online for months at apple.com... but other than that, yeah, quite a feat.

    • If the Chinese can copy and produce a fake Apple Watch in 24 hours after launch, imagine what their combined will could archive at cleaning up their pollution.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 )

        They need another country to do it first so they can copy it.

  • You can guarantee the battery life will be better.
  • More like a look-alike. I'm not trying to play semantics here, but the term knock-off implies that either it's pretending to be the same thing. These watches are made to look like the Apple watch (whose pics have been available for a long time) but they don't carry the same name (Ai-watch, D-watch) and there is no indication at all about functionality. It's like the difference between a knock-off Rolex that actually says Rolex on it and a cheap watch from Wal-Mart that is made to look like a Rolex.

    • The Chinese government officially recognizes both knock-offs and counterfeits. Counterfeits are illegal. Knock-offs, which merely look at lot like the other item but do not try to pretend to be it, are legal.

      These are knock-offs and are legal. The fake Rolexes you speak of are counterfeits and are illegal even in China. Of course, the law is unevenly enforced there.

  • The article says, "Yet it is unlikely that buyers will mistake the clones for the real thing. The price tag alone is a dead giveaway -- the Apple Watch costs from $349 in the U.S." So I'm guessing they're buying the fake watches to show their friends: "Look - I have an Apple Watch!"

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @07:50PM (#49237655) Journal

    So, bear with me here. The Apple watch is manufactured and assembled in China, except for the solid gold ones, which (I've read, but it hasn't been substantiated) have guts made in China but the final assembly is in the US to avoid shipping gold to China to be made into watch cases. Or something like that.

    So, let's assume for the moment that (at least) all the consumer grade Apple watches and all the guts are made in China. We also know that China companies in general have ... different ... ideas about intellectual property.

    ...and we know that the Apple Watch is the must-have trinket of this century. Well, 2015. Well, March of 2015. Well, the second week of March, 2015.

    And so, anyone who is surprised that "knock-offs" start appearing nearly simultaneously with launch, should be beaten with a switch and made to sit in the corner. Hell, the "knock-offs" could have been made at the same factory.

    Funny story -- I'm a photographer, and the brand I use (which will remain nameless) demands premium prices for official accessories, which are often just pieces of plastic with a certain shape and a few basic electronics. Almost immediately after a new product is introduced, a shower of "knock-off" accessories appear, which are often indistinguishable from the official parts. The story is, they're identical because they're a covert run from the same factory, merely with different branding and perhaps not as fastidious quality control. (Or, at least, that last part is what the vendor wants you to believe.) And so an official battery grip may list for $300, street cost $255, and the knock-offs are not more than $50, look and behave identically, and appear to last as long even under rough use. (And you don't mind being rough with them because if they break, you can get another for $50.) However, there will always be (brand name) affectionados who will sneer at your $50 part with "you get what you pay for", even in the face of contradictory evidence.

    And of course, as no true Apple enthusiast at least in this country would dream of wearing a knock-off, even were it electrically and visually identical, Apple will still make a bazillion dollars off the product.

    • by WeeBit ( 961530 )
      "We also know that China companies in general have ... different ... ideas about intellectual property."

      Yes everyone knows this, and companies in America still keep China in business. If you visit China or YT you can find many videos on YT showing counterfeit shops, and goods. /ahem They even have a Hilton! This guy on YT said it's much better to visit these shops in person.

      "And so, any
      • by msobkow ( 48369 )

        What makes you think the CEOs, boards, and investors ever gave a shit about your jobs, peon?

        • That's a point. But this means it hasn't yet occurred to them that we need money to buy the crap they make.

    • by myid ( 3783581 )

      And of course, as no true Apple enthusiast at least in this country would dream of wearing a knock-off, even were it electrically and visually identical, Apple will still make a bazillion dollars off the product.

      Well, I guess you could call me an "Apple enthusiast", in the sense that I prefer to use a Mac. But I don't plan to get even the cheapest Apple Watch, let alone an expensive one.

      • And of course, as no true Apple enthusiast at least in this country would dream of wearing a knock-off, even were it electrically and visually identical, Apple will still make a bazillion dollars off the product.

        Well, I guess you could call me an "Apple enthusiast", in the sense that I prefer to use a Mac. But I don't plan to get even the cheapest Apple Watch, let alone an expensive one.

        I wouldn't call you an apple enthusiast. I have used the products -- I retired a G4 not too long ago, and I still have an old ipod connected to the stereo in my truck. Daughter was a big fan of the ipod touch, 'till she slowly realized that her Android phone does all of that and more. My understanding is that her touch remains in its docking station in the bathroom now, so she can play music while showering. Wife owns a nano. We use Apple products (not a lot, but some) and I will admit to a large amoun

    • And so, anyone who is surprised that "knock-offs" start appearing nearly simultaneously with launch, should be beaten with a switch and made to sit in the corner. Hell, the "knock-offs" could have been made at the same factory.

      This. And people seem to forget that fake iPhone 4 were available several weeks before the official launch.

  • They must be fake, iMaps works right.

  • 'All about the new Apple watch in 0:90'

    What? 1:30 of advertising? command-W and FO.

  • The local Apple representative here has been selling the "iWatchz" for months now...€100. I should complain to Apple, actually.
  • If the knock offs have better battery than the original, I'll take the knock offs any day.

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