"Stop stealing our stolen tech". This and more speculation in the week a replica Apple store was 'discovered' in Kunming.
The story about the fake Apple Store in the Chinese city of Kunming is just so beautiful I don't know where to begin.
A blog by BirdAbroad questioned the authenticity of the shop in a relatively obscure Chinese city. Hilariously, Apple declined to comment at first. We're used to Apple not saying much, but when someone builds an actual retail unit and covers it with your logos and you still say nothing, that's taking cool detachment to sublime new levels.
Of course, China is famous for its knock-offs. Long before Apple came along, the Chinese were busy making N-kia and Nokla sliders. I imagine the senior management at these companies must have had anxious meetings when the iPhone and Android era began. Picture the scene...
Chun Li, fake VP of Nokla: "How can we counteract this radical reinvention of the form factor and UI of the mobile device? We're so committed to the Nokla template."
Kim Wang, fake CMO of Nokla: "I've got a plan and it might just work. Why don't we stop ripping off Nokia and instead rip-off Apple?"
Chin Li: "Oh, that's brilliant. Shampagne all round!"
Yes, we all know counterfeiting is wrong, but there's a kind of genius in going this far. By all accounts, the decor at the fake Apple store is painstakingly close to the real thing, and the products are so good that no one has established for definite whether they are bona fide or not (if they are, how are they sourced?).
But the detail that really stood out was the fact that the loyal staff, with their blue Apple-emblazoned t-shirts, really believe they work for Cupertino.
This is priceless. Do they get discounts on dodgy merchandise?
Do they get pep talks from a small Chinese gentleman in a counterfeit Ralph Lauren turtle neck who says his name is Steve Jobz?
Are they banned from discussing new fake products until the day they are discreetly shipped in from market stalls around the city?
How far can this fakery go? Here is a sneak peak at some headlines from the phoney future...
* Fake Apple sues Fake HTC over fake patent infringements; alleges it stole them first
* Fake Apple celebrates 15 billionth fake app download when Angry Burds is downloaded by a customer in Beijing
* Bloggers speculate that the fake iPhone 5 will come with contactless MFC technology
* Fake Apple investigates working conditions at Foxcomm. "We're very disappointed. We insist on only the poorest standards"
* Fake Apple confirms launch of iClowd, which will let users upload their content to servers, from where it will be stolen and turned into CDs.
It's all enough to mess with your head, especially if you're a journalist reporting Apple news.
Thank God we're not real journalists.