Apple earbuds: Which is the fake?


One of these is a $30 iPhone Stereo Headset from Apple. The other is a $14 knockoff from the Philippines. [Cult of Mac, which also interviews a lawyer at Shure, another typical victim of the cloners.]

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13 Responses to Apple earbuds: Which is the fake?

  1. bardfinn says:

    The ones on our left.

  2. ScottMcG says:

    The left pair. There’s a weird crimp in the grey stress relief plastic.

    That said, I wonder what the sound quality difference is between these? Apple’s buds don’t sound very good anyway…

    Now the Shure guys might have a bit more to gripe about.

  3. stb says:

    Look at the ad at the bottom of the interview page…

    Nice content matching, Google!

  4. RedShirt77 says:

    you scratched the little “L” and “R” off the real ones, which is probably because that is a real giveaway.

  5. Clif Marsiglio says:

    Give it about 4 weeks of being in your pocket, I can tell you which ones are the Apple ones and which aren’t.

    I even bought a case that had a cable wrap and cover, and found it only extended the life of Apple’s headphones a couple weeks.

    After a while, I just started a subscription to DealExtreme to send me 5 of their $2 iPhone headset knockoffs every three months…ok, I have to manually go in and order them, but it is as close to a subscription as I get these days! Takes two months to show up, but generally I order the next set as soon as the new order shows up.

    I’ve loved everything about my iPod or iPhone except for the headsets…stylish, but SUCK.

    Oh yeah, as for Shure, my EC3s with custom molded earpieces work GREAT with another knockoff — the Mic Adapter…I generally have to modify the structure with a heaping helping of superglue (because they WILL break in half), but at $2, who is going to complain! I’ve only gone through about 3 of these…I’d wear my EC3s more often, but it is a hassle to get them on or off…as such, I only wear them when I’m biking for a couple hours and need to tune out the rest of the world (trust me, that that semi comes up from behind and smacks you, you won’t know it until the bones start to disintegrate…it’ll be quick!)

  6. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    redshirt – on the headset w/ mic the L/R are on the inward-facing side of the earbuds, and the fakes do have them.

    You know what? I’d gladly pay $14 for “Ritz mock Apple earbuds”. They can’t possibly sound worse or fall apart quicker than the real deal.

    Unfortunately, I’ve gotten so used to having the mic+volume control on the cord that I just can’t convince myself to spend money on a 3rd-party set that doesn’t have them.

    I’d drop the $80 for the Apple in-ear headphones, but I paid that much for my Grado cans, and I know they sound better (even if they aren’t as portable). I also don’t want the ambient noise isolation in-ear sets give you, especially if I’m walking around.

  7. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    …but I am willing to drop $5 on a little experiment: Mock Apple in-ear Headphones w/remote and mic

    I’m curious about the sound quality, build quality, and if the remote actually works. The old mic was simple: mic is the 2nd ring on the plug, and pressing the button shorts it to ground. I’ve heard the new mic-remote has a chip, but it seems to me it would be easier to just pull a different impedance to ground for vol+/vol-/mic switch.

  8. ilikedginger says:

    I’m not a fan of either. They are so uncomfortable.

    I’ll take the very unsanitary headphones you jam right into your ear instead.

  9. gruppler says:

    I’ve been using the Bose earbuds for several years now, and the durability matches the quality, which are both exceptional.

    I went through a few pairs of $20 earbuds in a matter of weeks, so i decided to spend a little more money and get something i thought would last a little longer. Not only have they lasted (surviving much abuse such as an accident with a rolling office chair) but the sound is pretty amazing. I don’t know how they compare to the Sure ones, but i’m happy with them. They don’t completely mute your environment, but they are very comfortable and i’ve worn mine for several hours on end without my ears starting to hurt, as they always did with other earbuds.

    Plus, if you ever have a problem with them, Bose will replace them for free, no questions asked, and your 1-year warranty starts over. For $100, i can say it’s one of the few purchases i can say i am still happy i made years afterwards.

    That said, I don’t work for Bose. I think most of their stuff is way overpriced, though their excellent customer service might balance it out a bit.

  10. Anonymous says:

    After buying a pair of Sennhieser cx500, I’ll never buy another brand again.

  11. Rickyneck says:

    To bad they broke after a week. I wouldn’t mind not paying $30 for Apples shitty earbuds.

  12. Narual says:

    While I’m sure bose are better than the stock apple things.. ugh. For $100 you could get some starter level shure or etymotic phones, or a nice grado headset (or 2 of the iGrado headsets grado made specifically for the ipod/iphone)

  13. eideal852 says:

    grd drmit.
    i read this post with a slight feeling of dread, the MORNING before i received my amazingly low priced, ebay procured, “official” ipod headphones with mic. (i snagged my REAL real one on a drawer pull last week-oops!) -sure enough, i received what is most definitely these same knock offs. stiffer jacket, sloppy construct, rough edges. i might be okay with buying these, at the low price, knowing what they ACTUALLY were, and told the seller so, but hate that they were represented as the real deal. he replied with a “huh?” (of course), so i told him that whether he knew it or not, he was selling fakes. but in any case, i cant see these lasting even as long as apple’s shoddy offerings, as the jacket right down near the mini plug pulled back today, showing off the crazy thready wire goodness below… UGH!

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