In China, there are even fake cars and trucks.
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Fake 'Apple Earpods' from Amazon
They sure look authentic, but these fake 'Apple Earpods' are sloppily put together -- the wiring is ragged, for one thing -- and they have what must be the worst sound of any audio device known to humankind. Amazon sells thenm without telling buyers that they are not real Apple devices.

Don't pay for Chinese fakery, even when it's sold by Amazon

April 5, 2015

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2015, Al Fasoldt

The Chinese have perfected the art and science of faking.

In China there are fake iPads, iPhones, PCs and even stores, with names that sometimes look like (or, to the Chinese, sound like) the names of the American companies that are the Real Deal.

There are even fake cars and trucks. You can buy a Chinese "Mercedes-Benz" that's not a Mercedes-Benz in any sense except for the looks. You can buy a Chinese "Ford F-150" pickup truck that looks just like an F-150 except for the fact that it's not an F-150 in any way.

You can buy, as I did, a pair of Apple Earpods that look exactly like the real thing. They're identical in nearly every way, except for two differences: They're much cheaper ($7.99 instead of $29, for the model with a built-in microphone), and they sound awful.

This is not unusual. Chinese factories are, after all, the places where the original Apple Earpods, iPhones, iPads and whatnot are made, so we cannot be surprised when we encounter clones that look exactly like the originals.

What would be surprising, of course, is finding fake products that work like the originals. Good products cost money not just to design but to make. A good cloner can copy part of the design but not all of it. There are more than wheels and seats in an F-150 and more than a cute white pod in Earpods. Without spending money on making the clone work like the original, all you can do is make a clone that looks like the original.

And that's what xGen, whatever that is -- a company, a brand or who-knows-what -- did with the earpods I bought. Here's how they were described on the Amazon website:

xGen Earpods high quality material sound New Design Handsfree Stereo Earphones Earbuds with Remote and Microphone for iPhone 6, 6 plus, 5,5s,5c iPads, iPods nano competible (White).

(Yes, that's how Amazon spelled "comnpatible." Or how xGen spelled it. Isn't Amazon concerned with proper spelling? After all, every listing goes through someone at Amazon who is supposed to check it for spelling.)

Note that this section of the sales blurb does not mention Apple. You would not get the idea that the xGen Earpods are fake Apple Earpods, right? I mean, looking just like someone else's product -- er, exactly like -- isn't supposed to make you think it's really the same, Right?

Ah, wait until you read the next part:

These earphones (headphones) are a great way to talk hands free and control the volume on the phone without having to continuosly reaching for your phone. The design of the new EarPods is defined by the geometry of the ear, which makes them more comfortable for more people than any traditional headphone. The speakers inside Apple EarPods have been engineered to minimize sound loss and maximize sound output.

That's entirely correct. It's worded in the most incredibly bizarre way. This part is totally true: The speakers inside Apple EarPods have been engineered to minimize sound loss and maximize sound output.

Except that the product referred to is the fake Apple Earpods, not the real item. Amazon let that little piece of creative writing slide right through. Imagine listing Bert's Dreadful Watered-Down Beer using ad copy from a Heineken's poster.

As for Apple's Earpods, they sound great. They're very comfortable and play loud without distortion. They'll pump out organ bass quite nicely, although not as authoritatively as some of my other earbuds, and they just sort of fade away while you're listening. That's quite a feat.

You have to pay for that kind of design, that sort of engineering. The fakers haven't figured that out yet.