The Reality of the iPhone Line is a Black Market Nightmare

By Robert Sorokanich on at

This week, people camped outside Apple stores for days anticipating the iPhone 6. But those line-waiters weren't all frenzied Apple fans high on the joy of being among the first iPhone 6 owners: As filmmaker Casey Neistat portrays it, many of those at the very front of the line were buying the new iPhone to immediately resell it on the black market.

It's hard to definitively verify what Neistat presents with this short movie, and he definitely made this video to chase down a very specific conclusion. But his claim, that many of the first iPhones sold in the US were immediately shunted into the Chinese black market, isn't far-fetched: The iPhone 6 won't officially launch in China for another several months, meaning black market resellers can sell internationally-sourced new iPhones for upwards of $3,000 (£1,840) on the street right now.

Camping outside the Apple store for days before the new phone's release has always been a foolish proposition. If you're in that much of a hurry to get the new phone, just order it online! But if Casey Neistat's portrayal is to be believed, the line is no longer the gathering place for Apple zealots—it's the gritty front line of the international black market, the joyless, hardscrabble first link in a chain most US consumers are happy to ignore. [Casey Neistat via Kottke]