Israel Bans Import of iPads
Never mind that Apple's new iPad won't be available outside the United States for a few more weeks. An Associated Press article tells us Israel has banned all imports of the popular tablet device, even going so far as to confiscate them from tourists upon arrival and hold them for a daily fee. Customs officials will return the iPad upon its owner's departure from the country. The Communication Ministry says the iPad's wireless frequencies are incompatible with national standards. If you decide to travel light with your iPad, make sure it will be welcome wherever you're going!
What about iPhones, iPod Touches, MacBooks, and other smartphones and laptops that use WiFi? Are they going to be banning those also? I think Israel should be more concerned about "iRan" than iPad!
Update: Ha'aretz reports that beginning today, iPads are allowed into Israel, apparently on the direct instructions of the minister of communications. No explanation on the reasons for the ban.
The Director General of the Israeli Communications Ministry explained that the iPad has US standards WiFi, while Israel uses the European standard.
But, isn't WiFi simply WiFi? Are there different WiFi standards in Europe and the US? Anyone know? (Glenn Fleishman, maybe?)
There are many different regional differences for use of the unlicensed or semi-licensed 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz around the world. For instance, Japan allows use of 4.9 GHz, which is reserved for public safety in the United States, and not 5 GHz, which is widely available in the US (although has some military radar overlap).
There are also different signal power rules, and those can vary quite a lot.
My guess is that the Israeli regulators got an iPad shipped from an official in the U.S., tested it against equipment, and didn't like how the iPad moderated power use.
As far as I know, the EU hasn't raised any similar concerns, and Apple is conceivably using the same drivers and similar hardware to all its other equipment.
The iPad is the first mobile device Apple's made that does 2.4 and 5 GHz plus 802.11n, so it may have some peculiarities.
The trouble with that is that the iPad *does* conform to EU standards. No one has any idea why Israel has banned the iPad, but the farce about the wifi in it is just that, a farce.
That's an assumption, sort of. I don't see any information anywhere that Apple has received European certification, which I believe isn't centralized in the EU, but subject to a process of national regulators certifying, but that other countries will accept the certification of other nations.
So we don't know that. Apple doesn't claim that on the iPad tech specs page.
Time Magazine just ran a good story on this issue, which ties the import restriction to Shimon Peres' son's company, the only Apple importer in Israel.