It's been in the rumor mix for well over a year now, first popping up in connection with the iPhones-at-Walmart & Best Buy deal, but now the cat is out of the bag and rummaging around in the shelves full of diodes, UHF antennas and talking robots: late last Friday, RadioShack announced that it would begin selling the iPhone in a few NYC and Dallas stores in time for the holiday shopping rush, with wider availability to begin in 2010.
While the addition of another retail outlet to the mix of stores (including AT&T and Apple's own operations) that carry the iPhone may not do a whole lot for general availability of the device -- frankly, if you can't find an iPhone 3GS near where you are, you can get one online in a jiffy -- it certainly did a lot for RadioShack's investors. The stock was up over 14% on the first trading day since the announcement, with analysts suggesting that the presence of the iPhone may help to drive up in-store traffic for the Shack during the busy holiday season and year-round.
Let's think about that for a second. Just having the iPhone in the shop for shoppers to fondle, nuzzle and take home as their very own is considered, in the eyes of the market, a material advantage for an electronics chain with nearly 5,000 US stores.
You've come a long way, baby.