For some, the annual pilgrimage to an Apple store to buy a glossy new iPhone is purely for the spectacle. Die-hard fans spend hours outside to be a part of the fanfare and become the first to get their hands on latest device.
But a disturbing new video documents why so many are willing to wait in line: They're reselling the phones for cash. In a six-minute short film, filmmaker Casey Neistat highlights the black market for phones at New York City's Apple stores. Here's how the process works.
With the aid of a Mandarin translator, Neistat interviewed elderly Chinese men and women who all said they were buying phones for themselves or loved ones.
Some of them weren't. Instead, they'd later be seen hawking the phones on the streets.
The iPhone line looked nothing like the joyous atmosphere Apple prefers, as people slept on a trash-filled street.
One woman even got arrested, though it was unclear why.
Once in the store, lots of customers paid for their phones in big wads of cash.
Neistat speculates the black market has something to do with the "Chinese mafia." Apple has yet to announce when it will start selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in China this year, drawing high demand and ridiculous prices for the product overseas. According to Bloomberg, the 128 GB iPhone 6 model is being sold for as much as $2,400 in China (compared to $649 in the U.S.). A security expert told Bloomberg that up to 5 million new iPhones may end up being smuggled into China.