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Israel bans the iPad, at least for now

Israeli officials fear that Apple’s iPad tablet computer might interfere with other products’ wireless signals. Israeli officials fear that Apple’s iPad tablet computer might interfere with other products’ wireless signals. (Paul Beaty/Associated Press)
Associated Press / April 16, 2010

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JERUSALEM — Israel has banned Apple Inc.’s hottest new product, the iPad, citing concerns the powerful tablet computer’s wireless signals could disrupt other devices.

The ban prevents anyone — even tourists — from bringing iPads into Israel until officials certify they comply with local standards.

The US Federal Communications Commission allows devices with Wi-Fi capability to broadcast at higher power levels than are allowed in Europe and Israel — meaning the iPad’s stronger signal could throw off others’ wireless connections, said Nati Schubert, a senior Communications Ministry official.

Some Israelis got iPads before the ban. Amnon, a software developer who brought an iPad into Israel but asked that his last name be withheld, said he and other high-tech businessmen need the iPad to develop new applications for the device.

“There are several hundred people in Israel who make their livelihood developing apps . . . and there are going to be companies that suffer because they can’t deliver the services they’re supposed to be delivering,’’ he said.

The iPad went on sale in the United States April 3. Apple this week delayed its international launch until May 10, citing heavy US sales.

Israeli officials said the ban has nothing to do with trade and is simply a precaution to ensure that the iPad does not affect wireless devices already in use.

Schubert said he expects the problem to be resolved as Apple moves closer to its international release.