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Apple Watch knockoffs for $40 are already for sale in China

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:57PM EST
Apple Watch Knockoffs
Image: Apple Inc.

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The Apple Watch hasn’t even been released yet but that hasn’t stopped Chinese manufacturers from flooding the market with cheap knockoffs. The knockoff industry has gotten quite advanced over the years, and a few of Apple Watch knockoffs we’ve seen thus far bear a remarkable similarity to the real thing.

As one would expect, the Apple Watch knockoffs we’ve seen are much cheaper than what one would otherwise pay in an Apple retail store, to the tune of about $40 in some cases.

Related: This is the harshest take on the Apple Watch I’ve read yet… and it makes some very strong points

The Financial Times reports:

On ecommerce websites such as Alibaba’s Taobao, the watches appear nearly identical to Apple’s product, right down to the distinctive digital crown controller on the side of the device and four sensors on the underside.

Most do not have a brand marking, and cost Rmb250-Rmb500 ($40-$80) — about a tenth to one-fifth of the price of the cheapest Apple watch exhibited this week by Tim Cook, chief executive of the Cupertino-based group.

Naturally, some of the adverts on Taobao certainly depict knock-offs that look like dead ringers for actual Apple Watch devices, even the gold Apple Edition models.

Meanwhile, some of the cheaper knock-offs, so to speak, are pretty easy to pick out of a lineup. For instance, I don’t think anyone is realistically going to be fooled by this cheap imitation below.

One knock-off in particular, though, seems intent on copying as much of the real Apple Watch’s functionality as possible. The Zeaplus Watch can reportedly detect a user’s heart rate, track their steps and other health-oriented information, and actually make phone calls thanks to an open slot for a SIM card.

All in all, not terribly surprising given the worldwide appetite for all things Apple. If anything, it might be cause for concern if manufacturers weren’t interested in developing Apple knock-offs.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.