In a truly bizarre situation that I’m still trying to turn my head around, U.S. Customs and Border Protection tweeted tonight that their officials “recently confiscated 2,000 counterfeit Apple AirPods from Hong Kong, valued at $ 398,000, if they were real “. There is also a press release: “CBP officials protect the American public from various dangers on a daily basis,” Troy Miller, director of CBP’s New York field operations, said in the press release. “The interception of these counterfeit earbuds is a direct expression of the vigilance and commitment of our CBP officers to mission success every day.”
The only problem is, based on the agency’s photos, the confiscated products appear to be legitimate OnePlus Buds – in a box that clearly says so. But CBP proudly tweeted, “THAT’S NOT AN APPLE,” as if its people had astutely discovered a fake 18th century artwork. It’s not clear if all 2,000 units were OnePlus Buds, although the CBP images are unmistakable.
I have no idea what caused CBP to stop these units on their tracks beyond their general AirPod-like aesthetic. Yes, the form factor created by Apple is now shared by many models of true wireless earbuds on the market. But you don’t see everyone leaving the airport. Nowhere in the press release is OnePlus mentioned at all, and there is no clarity as to whether officials knew what they were seeing. OnePlus Buds is again on the boxes in these photos. It’s not a fake AirPods box that uses the wrong font or anything. At least with the confiscated product, there doesn’t appear to be any tricks. If AirPods were to be on that show, that’s a different story.
The edge has asked both OnePlus and CBP for more details on the promotion at JFK. Was it an embarrassing gaffe from border guards or a wake-up call that earphone manufacturers need to be a little more original? Maybe both. You have to imagine that the blue OnePlus buds would probably have come through.