back to article iPhone mules are taking our handsets, damnit!

Thirty years ago, I met a Frenchman who lived in Kent and was on the dole. He had to sign on every two weeks. He was also registered as unemployed in France, where he signed on once a month. So each month he would cross the ferry in his van, laden with... upright pianos. As you already know, pianos were much popular in …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Welcome to Globalisation, where artifical distortions in the market created by corporations and governments are leveled out by people looking to make a tidy profit.

    If a company decides to over price and under supply one region it's only logical that a region that has a larger cheaper supply will be tapped.

    It's as obvious with phones and electronics as it is with movies and games (although movies and games are pirated instead of exported mostly. Although I've bought my share of cheap series box sets from the states.)

    Look at all the Europeans that went/sent their mates to the states to pick up an ipad/iphone before they were released over here. Same happens with any gadget that gets a staggered release.

    If the companies released everywhere with similar prices and stock levels that equally supply the demand (or equally under supply demand) then people wont do these things because they arn't profitable.

  2. Blue Buddha


    I bought one from the Apple Store in Bristol a couple of weeks ago - I rang to see if they had any in about 10:30am and they'd just had a bunch turn up. I hotfoooted it down there to find an already-lengthy queue predominantly made of up swarthy-looking non-anglo-saxon types all paying £1200 in either £20 or £50 notes for two unlocked 32GB models.

    My apologies of course for the steroetypical Mail-esque racial profiling but they didn't exactly look like your typical Apple user....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have wondered the same...

      Regent St, week days at 09:30 (i.e. the rich are still in bed or at work)... huge queue outside of shabbily dressed types who really don't look like they can afford iGadge...

      Perhaps this explains why.

      AC because I don't want the PC police to get me!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Others who can ill afford iGadgets

        As well as large volumes of non-AngloSaxons, the other surprising cash purchasers of two iPhones are the track-suit wearing classes (when they obviously haven't been exercising).

        Several times in AppleStore Bluewater I've seen them buying two iPhones with £1200 in twenties and fifties, then asking the staff where the nearest and cheapest PAYG sim deal is.

        Maybe the Daily Mail could run a story about benefits scroungers stealing our iPhones next?

  3. Lottie

    small world

    Our world is too small now to have staggered releases of popular items.

    I can't really blame someone for seeing an opportunity and going for it.

  4. Michael Jennings

    I can't imagine Apple wants to do it this way

    Apple has simply been unable to keep production up with demand, so they have staggered the release. This is partly a consequence of the way they structure their product line (one blockbuster product release of one model once a year, whereas many competitors release far more models and let a new one trickle out every few months) and it's partly a consequence of getting production levels wrong for this product, which may be as much about suppliers having problems as Apple directly.

    I'm sure Apple would prefer to have enough for the whole world at once. They would make more money that way.

    I've made a few hundred quid myself buying iPhone 4s and selling them to Russians on eBay. (The opportunity to do this has now gone, but a couple of months back it was a nice little earner). There's nothing wrong with this at all. I've even made a couple of Russians happy, and they need this more than we do.

  5. The BigYin

    Free trade...

    ...until the EU make it illegal (again). When a company causes a price disparity (either through malice, collusion or ineptitude) a free market will self-correct to a large extent. This story (if tru; it's the Mail FFS) is simply an example of that happening.

    It doesn't always happen in reverse though, sometimes the people who are meant to protect free trade and an open market (e.g. the EU) are to kill it off. This is why you can't buy cheap Levi's, CDs, DVDs etc from outside the EU anyone. The government has decided the free market is no longer in your interest.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Seems like a lot of indians queueing up in Regent Street the times I've been there - they've obviously been paid to get them in order to beat the customer limit. They all pay in cash and don't look like typical tech/fashion savvy users!

  7. Marky W

    Non Story of the Week

    Apple told the Mail that it would "prefer not to engage" with this story. Doesn't happen very often when Apple are concerned, but I 100% agree.

    I was so irritated that you made me waste a minute of my life reading the article that I decided to waste another two telling you about it. Ironique, non?

  8. Richard 81


    Why do you suppose when I got to "Eastern European" the mystery of where this article came from vanished? I must have the gift of premonition.

  9. seanj
    Jobs Horns

    Damn foreigners....

    Dey took urrr Jobssss...

    (and for those that need it explaining, well: )

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Shouldn't that be "jurrbs"?

      Tho, I wouldn't complain about them taking our (st) Jobs! ;)

  10. Campbeltonian

    The start of this article...

    ...should be read in the voice of Grandpa Simpson.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Now why am I not surprised to find "a pop at a foreigners" and The Daily Mail, mentioned in the same story?!

  12. Anonymous Coward

    British phones for Biritish people

    Its party conference time ... so who's going to be the first to take a stand on this!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    El Reg fails at investigating the story and goes for racist card

    There is actually a lot of truth in this mail/telegraph story, I myself have queued outside Regent St, Covent Garden and the Westfield centre Apple shops only to see these huge queues 200+ of mostly ragged looking indians each day (I tried 3 days in a row before giving up), for the most part they turn up way after you, jump the queue next to their gang mates, argue/fight with the other gangs and often intimidate people in the queue. I saw the same faces over and over each morning and was told by the security guards that they start queueing at 9pm the previous evening. Whatever stocks those Apple stores get I can assure you that not a single phone is making it to a uk customer who actually wants it for themselves.

    Whilst I accept that its a market correction that was bound to happen due to the pathetic supply and purchase system that apple has in place, I dont accept that decent people should be hounded, intimidated and forced to queue all night when a simple mechanism for ensuring payment by card only and 1 phone per card would resolve this.

    In the end I gave up and decided to go for an Android Galaxy S and am very happy with it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: El Reg fails at investigating the story and goes for racist card

      Playing the racist card - where did that come from?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What if

      What if you have a family (I guess you don't) and you want to buy one for you and your wife and maybe teenager?

      No the crazy anon has said you can not becouse what normal person has freinds and family!?

      Everyone in the country should fight for themselves says random anon, survival of the fittest!

      "Whatever stocks those Apple stores get I can assure you that not a single phone is making it to a uk customer who actually wants it for themselves."

      I recon you're talking garbage. As my mate walked into an apple store, bought an iphone 4 and went home without any effort. He also did the same for an IPad.

      I suspect you saw some foreign types, wet yourself in fear, and ran home. True story. Saw it on the internet.

  14. Lloyd

    Surely some mistake?

    The Daily Mail? Featuring a story about foreigners ripping off the good old British public? Whatever next?

  15. thomasthetanker

    Realisation dawns

    Went past Regent Street on Sept 11th, thought it was some kind of Arabesque protest.

    Yes, they were, just like flamingoes.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Far more interesting

    Is why Tesco *still* don't have any stock of the ip4 despite their general availability in all of the high street stores now.

    Couldn't be because El Reg identified them as the cheapest way to own one (12mth contact £25pm + upfront)?????

  17. John H Woods Silver badge

    Consumers v. Corporations

    When we exercise our market freedoms, we are guilty of shopping at the 'grey market'. When corporation offshore much of their production and/or services - they are being efficient. I normally reject the term 'grey market' because of exactly this - there's nothing grey about it at all, just that the corporations don't want you to enjoy the freedoms that they do.

  18. Joe 3
    Thumb Up

    Good article, Drew

    Well done for pointing out the Daily Mail's typical xenophobic crap.

    1. My New Handle

      Xenophobic? WTF??

      "Well done for pointing out the Daily Mail's typical xenophobic crap."

      And how did you make that leap dear? The Daily Mail and El Reg report on a factual matter and just because the report mentions foreign people you pull out the Race Card? How completely pathetic and immature. Why don't you grow yourself a pair and just deal with life as it is.

      The fact is that these queues are there, people (including British-hating xenophiles like yourself) can go along any day of the week and see them there. They are disadvantaging bona fide IK customers, fact. So whats this then? Too many facts for your intellect to handle?

  19. moonoi
    Thumb Up

    I got mine from Singapore

    as it was the cheapest place globally taking into account exchange rates, and conveniently I have a friend that works there. So off to the Singapore Apple store, enter my details and card number, ship to my mate and then have him ship it over to me. Ok, so the iPhone 4 isn't sold here yet (been 'coming soon' forever now) and at the time the local apple store and operators were still selling the 3GS for over 150 quid more than I could get the iPhone 4 from Singapore. Wish I had ordered 2, as selling the 2nd one on the grey market would have covered more than 50% of the cost of the one I bought for myself :-) ahh well opportunity missed.

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