Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Apple spoils iPhone forgery plans

Real and fake iPhone
There are numerous fake iPhone products on the market

Consumers are being warned to be on the lookout for fake iPhone Nanos, despite the real thing not even being released.

It was rumoured that Apple might be announcing a new, smaller iPhone at this year's Macworld conference.

As a result, counterfeiters in the Far East started producing replica iPhone Nanos, replete with Apple logo.

However, other than a 17" Macbook Pro, there was no other hardware announced during the keynote address, meaning the only iPhone Nano you can buy is fake.

The replicas were based on rumours circulating online about what the phone might look like and do.

I suspect the retail value of these fake iPhone Nanos will be much lower now than they were last week

Ian Shircore, Envisional

Fake iPhone Nanos started appearing in Thailand just after Christmas, replete with "official" Apple logo and iPhone branding and there are reports that they have started to appear in European shops.

Ian Shircore, head of marketing at fraud and counterfeiting specialists Envisional, said that attempts by counterfeiters to pre-empt Apple had backfired spectacularly.

"Our view is that it's unlikely an iPhone Nano is in the works at Apple. You would have to radically reinvent both existing battery and radio technology. What's more, the LCD - currently the killer feature of iPhones - would also be shrunk," Mr Shircore told BBC News.

"If I was Apple, with the fastest selling handset in history, and I currently couldn't make enough units to sell, why would I want to make a smaller one?

"What's actually inside these fake units is anyone's guess. When you're selling fakes, it's the exterior that matters. I suspect the retail value of these fake iPhone Nanos will be much lower now than they were last week."

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