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Thursday, March 08, 2012, 02:54 pm PT (05:54 pm ET)

RadioShack first Apple reseller to start 'new iPad' pre-orders

RadioShack on Thursday started sales of the recently announced 'new iPad', making it the first company besides Apple to sell the third-generation tablet.

Apple initiated pre-orders for the next-generation iPad following its debut on Wednesday, but before today the device had not been up for sale through resellers.

RadioShack's proposed sales process is somewhat convoluted, however, as the company requires buyers to purchase a $50 gift card before pre-ordering the tablet. While the card can be used toward the price of the iPad or any other product in the store, customers can bypass this restriction by visiting a brick-and-mortar RadioShack outlet when the device is launched on March 16.

According to a retail representative, RadioShack will not be offering pre-orders through its website and will end in-store pre-orders at the end of the business day on Monday, March 12.

Big-box electronics retailers like Best Buy and other previous Apple product resellers have yet to announce iPad availability. Apple's mobile partners, AT&T and Verizon, are also not saying when they expect to sell the tablet.

Apple could be limiting the launch availability of its newest iPad, and the company's online store has seen shipping times slip three days for certain 4G-capable models of the device.

RadioShack has been involved with other Apple product pre-launches, like the 2010 rollout of the iPhone 4, though the electronics retailer was not one of the companies selected to take pre-orders for Apple's last-generation iPad 2.