RadioShack starts selling Apple's new iPad

RadioShack is the first company besides Apple to start selling the new iPad. It only began offering Apple's tablets last year.

Apple's new iPad.
Apple's new iPad. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Besides Apple, RadioShack is now open to sales of the new iPad.

Today the company said it's taking pre-orders for the new tablet, which was announced at an event yesterday and proceeded to go up for pre-sale only on Apple's Web site.

RadioShack

There is a catch for those who choose to pre-order with RadioShack though, buyers need to purchase a $50 RadioShack gift card, and make the pre-order from one of RadioShack's retail stores.

The gift card can be used on other goods at the store, or go towards the purchase, the company said. Buyers can also go to the company's retail stores on March 16, when the tablet launches, to avoid the initial gift card purchase.

The new purchasing option comes at a time when Apple itself has started to run out of launch day quantities of the new tablet for those who choose to buy it through Apple's Web site. Earlier today versions of the tablet compatible with AT&T's cellular network began to slip some three days past the March 16 launch date. In years past, Apple's run out of immediate availability of its tablets, with new buyers facing wait times of 3 to 4 weeks.

RadioShack is among the few companies besides Apple itself to sell the gadget maker's popular portable devices and warranty services at launch. Others that have sold Apple's tablet in the past, including Target and Wal-Mart have not been announced as sellers. AT&T and Verizon, Apple's carrier partners in the U.S., are currently only allowing users to sign up for more information on when the device goes on sale.

RadioShack began selling Apple's tablets only year , shortly after the introduction and launch of the iPad 2. The company has been one of Apple's retail partners since late 2009 when it began selling the iPhone 3G and 3GS in its retail stores.

The retailer is also among a handful of companies offering trade-ins for old Apple tablets. Such services have reported record trade-ins for Apple's tablets since yesterday, with most of those being the iPad 2, a gadget Apple released less than a year ago. Unlike some competitors though, RadioShack's system lets people take in their device for a trade-in at the same time they're making a new purchase.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. PT to include additional background information, and once again at 2:21 p.m. PT to note that pre-orders must be made in store.

 

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