Depictions of massive lines for new Apple Inc. iPhones typically focus on a number of excited people anxiously awaiting the release of the handset. But a video posted on YouTube Saturday allegedly shows these people have been replaced in recent years by line sitters looking to make quick profits by reselling the smartphones.
Director Casey Neistat's video, titled “Black Market Takes Over the iPhone 6 Lines,” purportedly shows elderly Chinese line sitters waiting for days to purchase the smartphones. When asked about who they were purchasing the iPhone 6s for, many replied they were purchasing the phone for themselves or for family members.
After Apple Stores in New York opened their doors Friday at 8 a.m. EDT, the same people were seen on camera first paying for their iPhones in cash and then handing them off moments later to people down the street in exchange for fees. The people who were handed the devices were seen in shots carrying tote bags supposedly full of freshly purchased iPhone 6s.
While waiting in line for an Apple smartphone for a profit is anything but a new phenomenon, the scenes depicted in Neistat’s video may have been exacerbated because of Apple’s exclusion of mainland China from the iPhone 6’s initial launch countries. Reportedly, Apple has not yet received the required regulatory approval for the device there, which has led to huge demand and markups for the iPhone.
In a Twitter post announcing the video, Neistat linked the activity to the so-called Chinese mafia, which has led to some criticism. Under Gawker’s report on the video, one commenter remarked: “Why is the assumption, ‘Chinese mafia?’ Just because they are Chinese, that what they are doing must be coordinated by some criminal underworld organization, not just, you know, maybe someone pays someone to sit in a line, so that they can resell it on Ebay?”