Counterfeit Apple products are a familiar sight to anyone who follows tech blogs, but an American blogger in China has treated us to something new: An entire fake Apple Store.
The blogger, who goes by the alias BirdAbroad, claims to have spotted several counterfeit Apple Stores in Kunming, China. In pictures, the resemblance to the real thing is uncanny, from the big wooden tables to the Genius Bar to the employees wearing blue T-shirts with Apple logos.
Even the products were legit, or at least they seemed to be. "The products looked like the real thing--I handled a few of them briefly--but I can't say for sure whether or not they were," BirdAbroad, who asked that her real name not be used, told PCWorld in an e-mail. (The pictures in this blog and the slideshow below are all used with her permission.)
Image Gallery: Fake Apple Stores
So why does this blogger suspect that the stores are actually bogus? Lots of little things: Stairs were poorly made, walls weren't properly painted, and Apple never puts the words "Apple Store"--only the logo--on its storefronts. (For that matter, one of the shops dubbed itself the "Apple Stoer.") Also, Apple's Website doesn't list any store locations in Kunming.
It's all the more amusing, then, that the stores' employees appear to believe they're working for Apple and tried to protect the brand by stopping people from taking photos in the store. BirdAbroad says she convinced employees that she and her husband were Americans who worked for Apple and were checking out local stores. The staffs then relaxed their photography policies.
The whole thing is so fantastical that you might think it's a hoax. If so, it's an elaborate one; BirdAbroad's blog dates back to 2009, with 10 pages of posts that have nothing to do with Apple. Elaborate fake Apple Stores aren't unheard of, either. The New York Times' Nick Bilton says he saw a similar counterfeit last year in Quito, Ecuador.
I guess it just shows how far people are willing to go to replicate the Apple experience. Any bets on whether you need an appointment to speak with a counterfeit Apple Genius?