New York City filmmaker Casey Neistat has long been one of our favorite auteurs on YouTube. A self-admitted tech nerd, Neistat noticed that there was something very different about the lines forming around the Apple stores in New York City. See, the iPhone 6 isn’t available in China, so profiteers have created elaborate plans on smuggling iPhones out of the States and into the People’s Republic. This involves A LOT of people in lines, making for an unusual make-up of hustlers eager to flip their phones for cash. According to reports, these iPhones are then going for up to $4,000 in China. In the filmmaker’s words:
Some thoughts from me (the guy who made this movie). I am a big tech nerd. I slept on the streets to get the very first iPhone, when I was a teenager I would wait all night at the mall for a new video game. For the 2013 launch of the iPhone 5s I made a short video about the lines in NYC, most of the video was of enthusiastic Apple fans, not unlike myself, eagerly waiting to get their hands on the new iPhone. There was also a percentage of line sitters that lacked all enthusiasm, one in particular was asleep with her head inside of a garbage bag. Those images bothered me, they were also the most talked about aspect of that 4 minute video. For this year’s iPhone 6 launch my intention was to cover that aspect of the story – sitters there for reasons other than their enthusiasm for the product.
I don’t think Apple, the community or any of the people in line for any reason were doing anything wrong. I attribute no fault for the bleak circumstances captured in this video. If there is an opportunity for easy gains by reselling the phones then by all means do it. I, also, cannot imagine Apple anticipated this or they would’ve better considered the roll out (they thought of everything else, including coffee for the people waiting outside).
There should be better consideration of how to prevent a system that benefits those willing to sleep on the streets, near garbage, tolerating verbal abuse.
I empathize with the ambitions of those willing to sit in line to earn. Since making the video I have read a number of stories about the iPhone 6 selling for 3 or 4 times it’s cost.
Anyway, Neistat film documenting all this is pretty brilliant.