Ahead of the Apple Watch going on sale April 24, the Chinese market is being flooded with fake versions of Apple’s wearable device — many of them bearing an uncanny likeness to Apple’s smartwatch, at a fraction of the cost.
Starting at less than $50, the “inspired by Apple” Apple Watch knockoffs are predominantly modelled on the cheaper Apple Watch Sport devices, but I’d be in no way surprised if we saw Apple Watch Edition replicas turn up at a later date, much as we routinely see fake Rolexes today.
Some of the devices claim to be genuine, while others are upfront about not being authentic — although there’s no doubt whose company’s products they’re being modelled on. In some cases, the knockoff devices run a version of Android, modified to look like the Apple Watch interface, but boasting about various advantages over Apple’s product, such as (allegedly) superior battery life.
You can see a couple of the Apple Watch-alikes below. Online retailer Alibaba is currently facing a government investigation surrounding its selling of counterfeit products. As a result, it is reportedly removing products advertised as “Apple Watches” at a rapid pace. We’ll see if it lasts.
Either way, this certainly isn’t the last we’ll hear about fake Apple Watches, particularly if the market turns out to be as big as some are predicting. Having previously railed against cheap Apple knockoffs, Jony Ive can’t be too happy about this.