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Apple’s counterfeit checks aren’t as foolproof as we thought.
A Redditor named DelayHaunting has stirred the tech community by posting a comprehensive review of counterfeit AirPods Max, which he purchased for $130. The review details how the counterfeit AirPods Max mimic the original AirPods Max in almost every aspect. These knockoff headphones not only fooled iOS’s counterfeit detection but also passed Apple’s own coverage check with flying colors.
How the AirPods Max Replica Passed as The Real Deal
The OP posted his review in slideshow format on various subreddits that talk about electronic replicas. Here, he tells his account on how the headphones passed two of Apple’s counterfeit checks: the iOS pairing verification and the serial number check.
Apple’s iOS 16 introduced a feature that checks for authenticity when pairing AirPods. This displays a warning if the AirPods cannot be verified as genuine.
However, instead of a message saying “Cannot verify AirPods”, the iOS pop-up showed up as it just normally would when connecting to an authentic pair.
The serial number found on the box also works. When the reviewer ran it through Apple’s coverage checker, it showed that the AirPods Max are under warranty. In fact, the pair apparently even have AppleCare+.
Other Convincing Details
Aside from passing the verifications, the fake AirPods Max are said to also replicate the look, feel, and functionality of Apple’s high-end headphones with unsettling accuracy.
These fake AirPods Max are able to trigger the automatic connection pop-up on the OP’s iPhone the moment he took them out of the case.
This highlights the device’s ability to mimic the authentic AirPods’ initial user experience seamlessly.
These counterfeits also have some of AirPods Max’s unique features such as ANC, Transparency Mode, and Spatial Audio. You can access and customize their settings the same way you can on authentic pairs.
The build quality of these replicas further blurs the line between genuine and counterfeit. The OP appreciated the substantial feel and metal construction. He also noted that the AirPods weigh almost just as much as the originals.
The packaging, too, is meticulously designed to replicate Apple’s, complete with a working barcode, charger, and paperwork.
Overall, the review gives these replicas an 8.5/10 rating. It praises their solid audio, good battery life, and the inclusion of all features found in the real pair.
However, it also acknowledges certain discrepancies that give away the replica’s true nature. The volume button’s clickiness, the absence of a pinhole in the black variant, and less effective noise cancellation capabilities are telltale signs of the product’s counterfeit status.
This level of replication not only poses a challenge to Apple’s anti-counterfeit measures. It also highlights the sophisticated capabilities of counterfeit manufacturers.
The fact that the replicas could bypass such checks suggests a vulnerability in the authentication process that counterfeiters have already exploited.
For consumers, the existence of such high-quality fakes at a fraction of the price of genuine AirPods Max ($549) presents a tempting alternative. But, it still has ethical and legal implications. There are also safety concerns due to the questionable quality control and checks the replicas may or may have not gone through.
Unfortunately, since iOS verifications are now known to not be foolproof, the burden to check for authenticity lies in the user’s observations. This can be scary as there’s a chance that some people may brand high-quality counterfeit AirPods Maxes, such as these, as genuine to make a profit.