People in New York queued up, some for days, outside Apple’s flagship store before the iPhone 6 was released last Friday. Many in the queue, eager to be among the first to purchase Apple’s hottest new product, appeared to be of Chinese descent and not necessarily intending on using the phones themselves, according to a six-minute documentary by Casey Neistat’s that’s been making the rounds online (watch below).
Many Chinese are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the newest installment in the iPhone series—which has, rather confusingly, not yet been given an official release date for the world’s largest smartphone market. This has led to many impatient netizens turning to the black market to fulfill their needs of holding Apple’s latest product.
Neistat’s video, shot in New York’s Soho neighborhood on Friday, shows the crowds of people, many seemingly of Chinese descent, waiting in line outside the Apple store to buy the new iPhone. Many of the people interviewed in the documentary professed to be buying the phone for themselves or for friends, however, some purchasers where documented re-selling the phones immediately after leaving the store. Captured in the documentary, there is also a death threat and an arrest, although the circumstances surrounding this are unclear.
The video has stacked up over two million views on YouTube alone and has been reposted on various news sites, including a re/code article titled “A Close, Disturbing Look at a New York iPhone 6 Line“.
Some web users commented that the tone of the article and video casts an unnecessarily dark light on activity that isn’t considered illegal.
“… This video is sickening because this activity isn’t criminal…I found this horribly offensive. These purchasers are not professionals at all. They are among those with the least financial resources. They are not buying phones for themselves, most likely because they can’t afford to,” web user BruceK wrote.
User Joseph E. wrote: “What you’re seeing is called ‘arbitrage’; buying something in one place to sell it for a profit somewhere else where it’s more valued. It’s the same reason some people load up their trucks with fresh water and drive hundreds of miles to get it to a disaster area. I have no problem with this.”
“I have known since the iPhone’s debut that it is purchased here and resold on the gray markets in China and other countries,” user Rakshasa said. “…But, seeing this video made it clear how ugly the process is… If this sort of thing is going to occur, I would rather the middle men buy the phones themselves instead of exploiting the poor.”
Watch for yourself below.
By Robert Ridley