Counterfeit models of the Apple Watch are already being sold ahead of the product’s official release on April 24. Fake editions are sold at Huaqiangbei electronics market of Shenzhen, China and some Chinese e-Commerce websites.
“Ai Watch” and “D-Watch”
The “Ai Watch” and “D-Watch” are the most common names given to the fake versions of the Apple Watch. They run an Android operating system designed to appear like iOS, as evident with the Apple icons on the screen, CNN reported. These counterfeit products are sold for $40 to $80 compared to prices of genuine Apple Watches that start from $349 for regular editions, to as much as $10,000 for the Gold edition.
Early availability of the fake devices highlighted the expertise with which forgers produce their merchandise. The practice is hard to battle, according to founder and CEO of smartwatch maker Omate, Laurent Le Pen.
“These guys are specialists. The speed at which they can bring copies on the market is amazing. The hardware is not the big challenge – the hard part is on the software and application side. In the end, you sometimes need to be an expert to tell the difference between real and fake,” Le Pen told CNN.
Fake Apple Watch Available Since 2014
The fake Apple Watch has been commercially available since 2014, Andy Faust of WATCHAWARE said.
Faust narrates how one of his friends brought a version of the fake Apple Watch he found in a parking lot, thinking it was just broken and needed tweaking.
“I actually have a little bit of real-world experience with the universal operating system this thing runs… But the thing wasn’t broken. That’s just how bad its generic OS really is,” Faust wrote. He added that the variant was a cheap, simplistic, limited wearable he would not even call a feature watch.