Waiting for an iPhone used to be fun. I did it once back in 2009. I got up around 3 AM — on vacation, no less — and stood outside an Apple store in Charleston, SC. I traded stories with strangers about what I was going to do with my new, white iPhone 3GS. When 8 AM came, the crowd cheered with glee. Everyone was smiling.
According to filmmaker Casey Neistat, iPhone lines don't look like that anymore. Known for viral videos such as "Bike Lanes," "Make It Count," and "The Dark Side of the iPhone 5S Lines," Neistat's latest video documents this past Friday's iPhone lines. "iPhone 6 Lines and the Chinese Mafia" is notably darker and more opinionated than Neistat's last attempt, hypothesizing that "the Chinese Mafia" is responsible for the elderly line-sitters sleeping in garbage bags across in front of Apple Stores across New York City.
There's no yelling and no fanfare — just a group of people quietly trudging into the store
The strangest moment in the video comes at 4:16, when the Apple Store opens for sale. There's no yelling and no fanfare — just a group of people quietly trudging into the store as Apple employees clap in the background. Then, these same people proceed to walk across the street and accept a cash trade for the device they just waited 12 hours for. Line-sitting is nothing new, but Neistat's latest video hits a few current trends: everything from police brutality to reports that five million new iPhones are reportedly about to be smuggled into China.
Mainland China was left out of Apple's latest iPhone rollout, after all. According to Quartz, a 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus will sell for $2,580 in China — more than twice its actual value. But Neistat's video is hardly representative of Apple stores as a whole. New York boasts one of the largest Chinese populations in the United States, and Neistat's assessment of Chinese line-sitters as "Mafia" is bizarre and crass, to say the very least. And there's no doubt that Neistat elected to keep some clips of happier line-sitters under wraps. But, the man's video nevertheless tells a visually interesting story of some of the people waiting — not for themselves, but for someone across the street, or for someone 7,000 miles away.