iPad trade-ins up 10x on eBay as new models loom

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iPad owners appear to be getting rid of their older models in preparation for the release of the third generation, as the number of iPads being traded in to eBay during February was up tenfold from that of the same month last year.

CNet reports that eBay made over 125,000 tablet trade-in offers in February, 97.6 percent of which were versions of Apple's iPad. That number includes only trade-ins are submitted to eBay's Instant Sale program, which offers cash to owners and takes care of wiping the devices and pays for shipping.

In fact, Apple's iPhones, iPods and iPads have made up the bulk of the trade-in items submitted to Instant Sale, despite the fact that other electronics brands are also accepted. eBay said it has made 7.3 million trade-in offers since launching the program.

The first-generation iPad 3G is the most commonly traded-in iPad, followed by the Wi-Fi-only original iPad. The Wi-Fi only iPad 2 is listed as third-most-popular, with the Verizon and AT&T iPad 2 models listed as fourth and fifth, respectively.

A significant jump in the number of iPads being traded-in was to be expected, as the available pool of used iPads last February were all less than a year old. Given that the first-generation iPad took the two top spots for tablet trade-ins, it would appear that some purchasers of the original iPad in 2010 skipped last year's second-generation and are now trading in their tablets in preparation for the third-generation.

A March 7 date for the unveiling of the so-called "iPad 3" has been rumored for weeks and was confirmed Tuesday when Apple sent out invitations to a media event that will take place at 10 a.m. Pacific at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

"We have something you really have to see. And touch," the invitation read.

Apple's March 7 event invitation, via The Loop.

The next-generation iPad is expected to feature a double-resolution display and an upgraded processor. It has also been suggested that the tablet could include support for 4G LTE networking.

Just weeks after the iPad 2 was released last March, eBay also offered some insight into buying and selling patterns for the iPad 2. A chart published by the site showed that 65 percent of the iPad 2 units being sold on the site were remaining in the U.S.