Israel Bans iPad Over Wi-Fi Interference

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Israeli customs is confiscating iPads, for fear their Wi-Fi will interfere with other devices

Israeli has banned Apple iPads from the country, and around ten have been confiscated by customs officers, because they may interfere with other wireless devices.

Israel’s Communications Ministry has said iPads should not be used in Israel, because they do not comply with European wireless standards, which Israel follows. The European standards allow a lower power wireless signal than the equivalent rules set by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in the United States.

iPads held hostage at Israeli customs

Win one of the first iPads in Britain
Win one of the first iPads in Britain

Ten iPads have apparently been confiscated this week by Israeli customs, which plans on holding them until their owners either leave or volunteer to ship the devices back home.

“If you operate equipment in a frequency band which is different from the others that operate on that frequency band, then there will be interference,” Nati Schubert, senior deputy director for the Communications Ministry, told the Associated Press on April 15. “Without regulation, you would have chaos.” [Apparently there is some confusion then, as iPads work on the same frequency bands as all other Wi-Fi devices – UK Editor]

Apple has met with considerable sales success for the iPad during the device’s first week of US sales, delivering more than 500,000 units and apparently exceeding the company’s internal predictions. That demand, according to the company, has led to a postponement in the iPad’s international launch, with UK operators planning to sell it from the end of May.

“We know that many international customers waiting to buy an iPad will be disappointed by this news,” read a statement posted on Apple’s website, “but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason—the iPad is a runaway success in the United States thus far.”

At a news conference on 8 April, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs announced that around 600,000 iBooks and 3.5 million applications had been downloaded by iPad owners since the device’s release on 3 April. According to a March 29 research note from Morgan Stanley, Apple could ship as many as 8 million to 10 million iPads in 2010, and sell as many as 2 million of those.

“Near-term, we believe the iPad will target the sizable sub-$800 consumer notebook market, which equates to 30 million units in the United States and 120 million units globally,” Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty wrote in that note.

Other analyst predictions are also optimistic, with research company iSuppli suggesting that Apple could sell as many as 7.1 million iPads in 2010.

Apple faces a variety of competitors in the space later in 2010, with Hewlett-Packard and possibly Nokia being just two of the manufacturers apparently designing their own tablet PCs for consumers. The HP Slate, due at an as-yet-unannounced point, will retail for between $549 and $599, and run Windows 7.   Tablets based on Google’s Android operating system are also predicted to give the iPad some competition.

Ironically enough Wi-Fi, the feature which has caused Israeli concerns over the iPad, has also caused some user problems with early iPads delivered in the US.

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