Not everyone lining up at Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad launch will be there for the new gadget. Dozens of protesters are expected to crowd around Apple stores in New York, San Francisco, and Washington for the 8 a.m. launch of the company’s third-generation tablet computer. These groups are stealing Apple’s thunder and stepping into the iPad’s limelight to bring attention to concerns about the welfare of the Chinese factory workers who toil over creating the devices.
Protesters are expected to crash the Apple party today, taking advantage of the TV news crews to get the word out at the largest Apple stores around the country. Apple launches have become a unique phenomenon — eager buyers have been known to line up for hours or days just to secure a device on the first day. The group is hoping to leave a bad taste in the mouths of these enthusiasts as they head out to purchase the third generation iPad today.
A digital petition has been circulating the Internet and has generated 250,000 signatures on protesters’ website Change.org. The petition demands Apple improve conditions at its factories, something Apple says it is working on.
But while not everyone may not be a fan of Apple, that doesn’t seem to be stopping the company’s rising market value. Analysts assert that Apple will sell more than 1 million iPads by the end of the product’s first full day in stores, which has helped boost shares above the $600 mark for the first time on Thursday morning and has helped shares grow 45 percent so far this year.
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