$100 ‘iPhone 8/ iPhone Pro’ lands in Vietnam (video)

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Apple’s soon-to-be new flagship device, the iPhone 8 (officially the iPhone Pro) is expected to hit the market next month. The distinctive twin-lens camera and fire engine red-case that adorns much of the company’s promotional material for the new phone ensuring that no-one is left wondering what model iPhone you have.

While Apple is expecting sales of the iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) to propel the company to increased prosperity despite its US$1,100 price, only two million iPhone 8s (iPhone Pro’s) are expected to available on the day the device goes on sale. Fret not.

Neither the high price or limited availability of the iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) need prevent anyone from getting their hands on what is sure to be the latest in status symbols this year, thanks to China’s loose enforcement of intellectual property (IP) laws and the country’s well established counterfeiting industry.

In this video clip from Vietnam Hanoi television host Tiến Đạt talks with technology reviewer Nguyễn Ngọc Hải about counterfeit iPhone 8s (iPhone Pro’s) that are already trickling into the country from its’ northern neighbour.

Mr Nguyễn goes through the various features the iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) is supposed to have – and points out how those features are not found, or not implemented correctly in the deceptive Chinese copies, which are being sold for less than $100.

While the counterfeit iPhone 8s (iPhone Pro’s) might look like the real deal, the hardware and software don’t even come close to matching the specification and features said to be included in Apple’s latest product.

The iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) is expected to incorporate an edge-to-edge design featuring a 5.5-inche display. The counterfeit has only a 4.7 inch display capability leaving a large section of the screen unusable. While the counterfeit iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) has a molding that looks like it contains a dual lens rear-facing camera, even a brief examination shows that the counterfeit iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) is equipped with a single lens camera, with a flash positioned directly below it.

The design of the iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) is meant to reflect the aesthetics introduced by the iPhone 4 with the sleek aluminium body replaced by glass, framed by a stainless steel bezel. It doesn’t take much of an examination of the counterfeit iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) to find it is made from plastic, while and the fingerprint sensor is nothing more than a design feature with no function whatsoever.

Switching the on counterfeit iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) and the difference is glaringly obvious. Instead of Apple’s refined and sophisticated iOS the counterfeit iPhone 8s (iPhone Pro’s) run a version of Google’s Android operating system.

While the iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro)  is yet to make any official public appearance, case manufacturers such as Olixar are already offering a range of cases and accessories for the new iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro), while an array of components said to be for the iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) are available on China’s e-commerce giant website, Alibaba.

While the counterfeit iPhone 8s (iPhone Pro’s) may provide a sneak peek into Apple’s latest design, the leak highlights the continued lack of protection China (which is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)) continues to provide to owners of intellectual property rights (IPR) – including one of the country’s largest foreign investors.

According to a report this year from the bipartisan Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property co-chaired by former United States (US) ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, the counterfeiting of goods, software, and stolen trade secrets are estimated to cost the US alone up to $600 billion every year.

Although the iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) might be this year’s greatest status symbol, the active marketing of the Chinese counterfeits could see owners of the distinctive looking smartphones constantly challenged to prove theirs is the real deal. While those who can prove they have the genuine article will no doubt receive the admiration of their contemporaries, those whose iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro) fails to pass the authenticity test are sure to labelled as posers and the subject of endless jokes.

Meanwhile the question of how much damage the counterfeit iPhone 8s (iPhone Pro’s) do to the genuine product’s image and sale-ability remains to be seen.



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Leakhena Khat

Leakhena is a junior journalist at AEC News Today who is also currently studying International Relations, which she finds adds perspective to her work reporting on the Asean Community.

“I love what I am doing so much as it gives me a lot of great experience and provides challenges to my mind.

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