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The awful truth behind the iPhone 6 launch lines

The minority

iPhone, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Store, smartphones, op-ed, Chinese iPhone importers, features

Mitchell Wojcik was one of the few people waiting on line solely for an iPhone 6

Of course, there were also regular people who were simply in line just to pick up the new iPhone and to experience the event.

Further down the launch line I bumped into Evandro Dessani, who while vacationing from Brazil, decided to line up for the iPhone 6 Plus intent on getting a device with a bigger screen.

Mitchell Wojcik was also among the few individuals just hanging out and using up one of his vacation days to pick up an iPhone 6 as an upgrade from his iPhone 4. Meanwhile, his line mate Keith Maltese rolled down from Inwood to the 5th Avenue store as a devoted owner of every Apple smartphone.

While there were people sprinkled in line for the iPhone without an agenda, they were clearly in the minority.

The import business

iPhone, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Store, smartphones, op-ed, Chinese iPhone importers, features

iPhone launch shanty towns are real

Importing iPhones to Asia is a big business, so it was likely a lot of folks in line were not interested in buying the latest handset for themselves.

Quartz reports a 128GB iPhone 6 Plus bought here for $949 (£789, AU$1129) without contract often resells in China for $2,580 (about £1,583, AU$2,890).

The profit importers can make off of transplanted iPhones is effectively twice the value of the actual device.

Ultimately it's a difficult problem to resolve because there is nothing illegal about buying a phone and reselling it. Apple cannot and probably will not turn away customers, no matter their reason for buying the device.

Between the PR stunts at the front of the iPhone line and the line sitters waiting to resell the device, the iPhone launch has become even more commercialized. At this rate, it won't be surprising if we start seeing companies lining up in Black Friday lines or heck, even during the holiday season for free coverage.