The scheduled March 16 launch of the new Apple iPad is bound to draw big crowds to the company's stores in New York, San Francisco and Washington --- with the crowds likely to comprise not just the Apple aficionados waiting to grab the third-generation tablet, but also dozens of protestors highlighting concerns about the welfare of the employees in Apple's China-based device-manufacturing plants.
The demonstrators, who are likely to make their presence felt at the Apple stores during the 8 a. m. release of the new iPad, will chiefly be part of the protesting group which came up with a digital petition on the Change. org website, with 250,000 signatures.
The group has been asking Apple to make the necessary improvements in the working conditions at its Chinese factories; and will probably mess up the new iPad's debut by marching past the TV crews - expected to be present at the stores - with critical messages about the alleged plight of the workers.
The demonstrations by the protestors at Apple's big city stores on Friday might just turn out to be a spoilsport for the new iPad's launch event, which analysts otherwise believe will be an overwhelming one as Apple is expected to hit the `1 million units sold' landmark within 24 hours of the device's release.
Along with its availability at Apple stores, the new iPad will also be available - though in limited numbers - at some other stores like Best Buy, Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, Target, Sam's Club, as well as AT&T and Verizon locations.