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posted by janrinok on Friday February 09, @10:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the somebody-will-always-pay dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Scalpers have taken to Apple's new headset, but there's currently plenty of supply.

When Apple Vision Pro launched late last week, there were two main topics of conversation. The first is all of the things it can do and how well it can do them. The other is the price: it starts at $3,499 with 256GB of storage and goes up from there. That's a lot of money, but there's actually someone trying to charge more than Apple: scalpers. They're often trying to start around $4,000, with some asking for as $10,000 in an attempt to make extra cash. Scalpers have unfortunately become a fixture of major technology launches. Remember the PlayStation 5 shortages that started in 2020? Those didn't resolve until just last year. Or what about graphics cards during the early pandemic? Those all went on third-party marketplaces as scalpers and the bots they employ have served as unwanted middlemen for financial gain. But with Vision Pro, that doesn't seem to be working. When I went to my local Apple Store on the evening of the launch for the demo experience, the specialist who gave me the demo told me that if I wanted the 512GB or 1TB models, I could get one immediately. That was right before the store closed. As I write this, I could get a 256GB model from Apple and pick it up tomorrow at a store near my office or the one closest to my home. Others are available this week. Shipping might take a bit more time, as it would arrive closer to the end of the month. And yet, scalpers are taking to eBay for a premium. Why would you do that when you could get it from the manufacturer?

"Well, that's the beauty of open markets and speculation," Ramon T. Llamas, a research director with the analysis firm IDC’s devices and displays team, told Tom’s Hardware. But the Vision Pro market is a bit different than recent tech scalping. For starters, Llamas points out, a lot of people are still trying to figure out what they're going to use a Vision Pro for. The PlayStation 5 has a very defined use case, which is part of why it was so in demand. Others may be waiting for later generations of the product and let early adopters work out the kinks. 

"It's easy to see there is some interest out there for this device, but when you're competing against the supplier itself, Apple, with a very fixed price and everything — a very public price — and… ample supply on hand, you're going to dive into some limitations," Llamas said. Which is to say, when I open eBay and Facebook Marketplace, I'm seeing a lot of listings.

This is compounded in difficulty by the degree of customization involved in buying a Vision Pro. It requires two scans from an iPhone or iPad with Apple's Face ID. These measurements decide which size straps should come in the box, as well as which size light shield will fit your face.

Some sellers list the size they bought (presumably, revealing the size of their noggin in the process); in other cases, you may go in blind on the sizing. As long as there's stock in an Apple Store near you, it makes far more sense, for $3,499.99, to go get it fitted to your own head. The idea that someone would want to buy an ill-fitting Vision Pro for more money doesn't make much sense, especially because they might end up going to Apple anyway and shelling out $199 for a new light seal and cushions or $99 for a new headband.

[...] Apple didn't respond to a request for comment. We'll update if we hear back.


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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by Tork on Friday February 09, @10:23PM (2 children)

    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 09, @10:23PM (#1343780)

    For starters, Llamas points out, a lot of people are still trying to figure out what they're going to use a Vision Pro for.

    Yep. I'm not even interested in demo'ing one of these things because of this issue. And I'm someone who is interested in how AR can improve my work-life. At that price you could not only buy a laptop... you could buy an Apple laptop. And even upgrade the RAM!

    --
    🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
    • (Score: 3, Touché) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Saturday February 10, @12:13PM

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Saturday February 10, @12:13PM (#1343842)

      A lot of the appeal of new Apple products is to show it off to your friends and say "I have the new Apple product".

      Still, regardless of why people are attracted to Apple products, if they have the money, who does it hurt really?

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Saturday February 10, @08:42PM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Saturday February 10, @08:42PM (#1343887)

      Others may be waiting for later generations of the product and let early adopters work out the kinks.

      Considering the $3600 price tag, if they offered a lease option, you might be able to get the best of both worlds.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, @10:29PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, @10:29PM (#1343781)

    "We are not scalpers. We are retail arbitrageurs".

    There was a post on reddit earlier today about how this kind of thing is called "scalping" when small-timers do it, but buying up a bunch of real estate and letting it sit empty is "investing". I think they have a point. Capitalism is only dirty if the little guy makes profit.

    • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Friday February 09, @11:15PM (2 children)

      by Opportunist (5545) on Friday February 09, @11:15PM (#1343791)

      And I'm not cutting funny shapes into the face of assholes, I'm an unlicensed plastic surgeon.

      Now hold still, scalper. Sorry, arbitrageur.

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, @11:17PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, @11:17PM (#1343792)

        "Adjuster" is a non-regulated job-title. It's just that if you prefix it with "facial", people tend to get either nervous ... or curious.

        • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Saturday February 10, @08:47AM

          by Opportunist (5545) on Saturday February 10, @08:47AM (#1343822)

          I prefer the title of a "facial expression adjustment artist".

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Saturday February 10, @10:13PM (1 child)

      by krishnoid (1156) on Saturday February 10, @10:13PM (#1343910)

      That's why you use words you learned in English class to make up new descriptions of the same scams [youtu.be] that have been in place for a while. Stay in school kids!

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, @11:13PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, @11:13PM (#1343790)

    The reason scalpers can scalp is because there are gullible marks around that will pay the scalping prices. The scalpers are greedy for sure, but clearly the scalpees are, in a way, even greedier evidenced by their willingness to pay the scalping prices.
    So from that perspective, scalpers offer a public service by parting those marks from moneys they would otherwise squander on other frivolities.

    If no-one paid scalping prices, then there wouldn't be any scalpers because it wouldn't (literally) pay off.

    But these are apple fanbois we're talking about and they will do more than a 10 USD crack-whore from the mid-west just to be able to swing there apple-branded i-peenor around.

    • (Score: 1) by anubi on Saturday February 10, @12:17AM (2 children)

      by anubi (2828) on Saturday February 10, @12:17AM (#1343794) Journal

      With all this retail theft going on, I would think Apple would refuse to "activate" stolen merchandise.

      That said, run stories in MSM showing greedy people crying in their beer over the expensive thing he just bought being rendered useless because the device was stolen.

      With the word out that buying Apple products from unvetted sources may be risky, people will start being leery of purchasing Apple products without verified ownership traceability. Anyone can shrink-wrap.

      This kills two birds with one stone.

      Who is gonna want to steal Apple phones? You likely will be stuck with a brick with an Apple Logo on it

      Who is gonna want to buy new Apple products for resale, when the word is out some of them are stolen and Apple won't activate them. It becomes a game of Russian Roulette. Some people get an operable device. Some get a brick. The only guaranteed way to acquire operable product is the vet your supply.

      Just like buying a gold coin and not end up discovering you've been had when you try to sell it.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Saturday February 10, @01:52PM (1 child)

        by DadaDoofy (23827) on Saturday February 10, @01:52PM (#1343850)

        You might think that's how it should work, but it doesn't. Apple has no problem activating stolen devices. Their interest lies in selling the apps and services available on that device, be it to legitimate customers or thieves.

        • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Saturday February 10, @10:18PM

          by krishnoid (1156) on Saturday February 10, @10:18PM (#1343911)

          Quite true, occasionally in bizarre ways [youtu.be], since apparently most stolen iPhones end up in China.

  • (Score: 1) by lush7 on Saturday February 10, @01:24AM (1 child)

    by lush7 (18543) on Saturday February 10, @01:24AM (#1343797)

    ...When the base price is 3.5K lol

    I think they just set the bar on par with the scalpers. A fool and her money will soon be parted either way.

  • (Score: 2) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Saturday February 10, @12:09PM (2 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Saturday February 10, @12:09PM (#1343841)

    The original scalper is Apple itself. I'm sure the product is very good, but three thousand five hundred smackeroonies for an electronic doodad? Jesus...

    I'll wait for reasonably priced knockoffs myself. And with any luck, the knockoffs will be rootable, to escape the corporate surveillance. But I'm not holding my breath on that...

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DadaDoofy on Sunday February 11, @02:15PM (1 child)

      by DadaDoofy (23827) on Sunday February 11, @02:15PM (#1343969)

      Where have you been? Add a couple grand to that figure for a maxed out MacBook Pro. People are willing to pay a lot for nice things.

      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday February 12, @03:36PM

        by Freeman (732) on Monday February 12, @03:36PM (#1344097) Journal

        I posit that someone that makes extensive use of their $5,000 computer is getting their money's worth. Unless you buy a piece of junk for that price. Which is still doable. Still, I'm not in the position to buy a $5k computer and even gifted one that's worth that much. I would probably just turn around and sell it on ebay. I'm not the target user of a $5k setup. Even a really popular youtuber, doesn't necessarily need a $5k setup to make good money. Probably the biggest examples of "can make use of $5k setup" are video editing and game development. Both setups which could pay for themselves in reduction of wait time for their users. High quality audio is more about the additional hardware as opposed to the computer itself. Such as literally having a Sound Studio with good mics, DACs/Mixers/etc, sound proofing (panels/entire rooms), and other things that go into making great audio.

        --
        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 1) by anubi on Friday February 16, @11:53PM

    by anubi (2828) on Friday February 16, @11:53PM (#1344840) Journal

    https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/14/24072792/apple-vision-pro-early-adopters-returns [theverge.com]

    Imagine you had bought dozens, hoping for a rewarding profit.

    At least the folks who bought from Apple can get their money back. Do you think the scalpers will honor that?

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
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