Chinese scalpers and publicity seekers replace Apple fans in iPhone 6 queues

“You probably have a certain image of someone who would wait in line for an iPhone: mid-20s, scruffy beard, white earbuds playing some gentle indie music,” Daniel Howley reports for Yahoo Tech. “”

“In New York, however, that representation wasn’t quite accurate. Gone were the bustling groups of hipsters and college students, replaced by startup hustlers looking for publicity, Chinese entrepreneurs in the reselling business, and, surprisingly, large families, many with elderly members, playing cards and sitting on small wooden stools,” Howley reports. “The line was predominantly Asian, as many have noted: News that the new iPhone might not arrive in China until 2015 means a lucrative black market for those who are able to resell American-bought iPhones there.”

MacDailyNews Take: It wasn’t just NYC. It’s worldwide:
• iPhone 6 resellers crowd out Apple fans at front of lines
Debut Marked by Long Lines, Emerging Gray Market for the Bigger-Screen Phones
• Chinese resellers crowd Apple stores in Japan for iPhone 6

“The sea change in the people who line up for the iPhone launch would seem to indicate that many of the younger, more tech-savvy Apple fans out there chose to preorder their devices online and have them delivered to their cozy apartments, rather than waiting outside. Or perhaps they went to their wireless carrier’s store, or to the mall, or to a big-box electronics outlet — somewhere a bit more reliable,” Howley reports. “With such a drastic change in atmosphere from Apple’s first few iPhone launches to this year’s, it seems that, in New York at least, many Apple fans would just rather order their phones online. Plus, as iPhone launches have become commodified, hipsters have been edged out by the economically savvy. The spontaneous show of affection for Apple has been replaced by those looking to advertise their companies or bring in a hefty resalesman’s payday. The iTimes, they are a-changing.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In an earlier article (“Cupertino, we have a problem: iPhone 6 lines and the Chinese mafia“), it was suggested that Apple might want to consider requiring that all launch day iPhone buyers have to sign a two-year contract or, at least, use Apple Pay or a credit card. Also, perhaps the lottery system that Apple employs in China to discourage scalpers should to be placed in effect worldwide? That latter suggestion might also thwart publicity seekers somewhat, too.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Cupertino, we have a problem: iPhone 6 lines and the Chinese mafia – September 20, 2014
Apple controls Chinese scalpers with lottery; online iPhone 4S sales resume – February 3, 2012
Apple combats Hong Kong scalpers with new iPhone reservations lottery system – January 30, 2012
Apple suspends iPhone 4S sales in mainland China retail stores – January 13, 2012
Beijing’s iPhone 4S turmoil a lesson to Apple, say analysts – January 13, 2012
Beijing Apple Store pelted with eggs after iPhone 4S sales canceled due to scalper fights – January 12, 2012
Huge throng of red cap scalpers crushes Shanghai Apple Store for iPhone 4S launch (with photo) – January 12, 2012
Hong Kong scalpers buy up iPhone 4S and resell them for big profit outside Apple Store (with video) – November 12, 2011
Police, scalpers, and customers clash in iPhone 4S queues at Hong Kong Apple Store – November 10, 2011
iPad 2, white iPhone 4 sparks scuffle outside Beijing Apple Store – May 9, 2011
Apple takes steps to curb rampant iPhone 4 scalping in China – October 11, 2010
Apple shuts flagship Beijing store as scalpers sap store’s iPhone 4 supply – September 30, 2010


  1. its saturday afternoon and i went to my local mall, which is not in NYC. over 100 people still in line for iPhone and most of them are asian. at my local mall you hardly ever see an asian person

  2. avoid cash transactions won’t work, cause they will just load all their cash onto prepaid visa/amex cards.

    as long as apple makes plenty of them it really doesn’t matter. let them snobbish chinese elite pay extra like dummies. if the poor chinese can use the day to make some extra cash, so be it. good for them

    1. It’s not racism, you dummy. It’s about a nice old techy tradition going to graveyard thanks to mafia, greed and self interest of a group that JUST coincidently, is composed of asians.

      1. I guess the Italians are off the hook this time! 🙂 Frankly i don’t care if a majority of Albanian hunchback dwarves are in line. Sell sell sell Apple! Everyone will get one who wants one eventually anyway. Also not all Apple Store lines reflect this article either. Of all places New York would be the MOST suspect of this practice, which is not reflective of the culture at large.

  3. Another bullet point for WS to manipulate the stock on Monday. If apple does not announce numbers early, the shysters will remark that the lines, although huge, only reflect publicity seekers and some Chinese marketeers. That there is no true following for the new phones, again as evidenced by the demographics (that they falsely created) of non -true beklievers in the lines. Hell, even if apple reports 12 million in unit sales, they will claim that is is an aberration due to the Chinese black market and should really have shown larger numbers to prove otherwise.

    1. This article is completely flawed:

      1. This year China was not in the initial launch like last year. If Apple sells 12 million or more in the first three days then this launch is exponetially more impressive compared to last year’s launch. It also bodes very well for future China sales – demand!

      2. No one knows the type of people or racial mix that pre-ordered.

      3. I saw many line videos with very few Asians.

      4. Little green men from the planet Zulton could be purchasing the iPhone. It doesn’t matter what or who is purchasing because sales are sales and that is the bottom line.

  4. I was one of those who waited in line (at an Apple Store in upstate New York) for an iPhone 6 Plus. My wife and I arrived at 7:45 PM Thursday night and we were 6th in line. Our store had – per the rumors – about 30 – 60 iPhone 6 Plusses per configuration per carrier. However the store did not have any iPhone 6 Plusses for T-Mobile. My wife and I each were able to get a 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus. (Boy this thing is huge compared to our iPhone 4s’.)

    It was a last minute decision on my part to wait in line instead of getting an iPhone 6 Plus later in the year. Everyone in line was very nice. People looked out for one another, shared food, drinks, and stories. We looked out for each others items when we went to the bathroom. The only problem we had was in the morning two individuals behind us claimed that 2 of their friends had waited too but were over on the bench and had come and gone throughout the night. People spoke up – mostly calmly – saying that either they weren’t there at all (I don’t remember seeing the 2 individuals) or that they couldn’t leave and return in the morning. Thankfully the situation was resolved peacefully and the two individuals who showed up at the last minute did NOT purchase the iPhone 6. We learned a little later that all four considered themselve “resellers” of the iPhone 6 and they all worked together. (The group of 4 men were of mixed nationalities – none were of oriental descent.) I also heard there was a reseller in the Apple store Thursday night – before the iPhone 6 went on sale – trying to purchase 20 iPhone 6’s with cash. The store of course refused to sell the iPhones to this reseller. All said, the experience was fun and * surprisingly * time really did seem to fly by. Got some great shots at 4 AM when Apple pulled back the black curtains and we got to see the store preparation process through the glass front. Sort of like watching an aquarium. I would consider waiting in line again for a major product launch as long as the wait is less than a day.

  5. What Apple could do, at least until the Xmas holidays, is the following;

    1. Have all launch day iPhone buyers purchase with a 2-year contract

    2. If iPhone buyers want a non-contract iPhone, have the buyer prove that it will be tied to a cellular plan

    3. Require 2 pieces of government issued ID.

      1. I’m not sure where you get your info from, but in the UK, unless you buy an iPhone from Apple or Apple re-seller, all iPhones are locked to the network from who you buy it, in fact most networks here lock all their phones; O2 don’t, except for the iPhone, and that’s been sold locked from the very beginning.
        I’ve had a bunch of phones from O2, and passed them on to a friend or sold them unlocked, but my iP3G and iP4 had to be unlocked before they could be used on another network.

  6. Guess what. If you wait in line you get to buy an available iPhone. Doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. Doesn’t matter whether you plan to keep it forever or hand it over to the guy down the street that gives you $50 for your trouble. The resellers have identified a market and are taking legal actions, and financial risk, in an attempt to profit from this market. Yes the times have changed. Walk away.

  7. This is now starting to look even more interesting from the China mainland side. As I mentioned in my “Cuppertino, we have..” post, there is a possible investication on the way of why China is to lose up to 10 billion USD (in taxes and money outflow) because the delayed permit from one government office.

    There is very visible drive to control the peasant-like behaviour of the Chinese tourists (and regular people) that make the Chinese government lose face. All Chinese embassies around the world are getting complaints from their local businesses and residents of peeing, stinky, pushy, loud, you name it, Chinese tourists.

    Now you can add the rowdy Chinese smugglers on that list.

  8. Too bad Apple can’t find a way to cash in on this, with an early release $2000 model or something. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work that way. When the iPhone 1 did a price drop after a short while, Apple was crucified. Somehow, people prefer the early obtaining of their iPhone to be a little on the dodgy side.

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