Israel's iPad Ban Leaves Many Wondering Why

BlogHer Original Post

Unless you want to have it confiscated and be required to pay a storage fee for your iPad, it's not a good idea to take an iPad into Israel. The Israeli government has banned the device and is taking iPads from travelers.

The government's explanation, as reported by Gizmodo:

The reasoning, according to Israeli spokesperson Nati Schubert, is that the FCC allows Wi-Fi broadcasting at higher levels than are standard in Europe and Israel. A sudden uptick in iPad usage, then, could use up too much bandwidth or interfere with other wireless devices.

Apple iPad Release

People have pointed out that the Wi-Fi signal from an iPad is no different from that of an iPhone or a Blackberry, which have not been stopped at the borders. The Wall Street Journal article, Many Puzzled by Israel's iPad Ban, reports that the Wi-Fi chip in the iPad is a standard chip, although it is a standard set for American devices and not to the European standard. The WSJ quotes Richard Doherty, an analyst with technology consulting firm Envisioneering Group, saying the ban "does not make sense."

So far, according to Gizmodo, 10 iPads have been confiscated. Officials have promised to continue to look for and take iPads brought into the country.

Israelis themselves are upset about the ban, according to Sky News, because of the delayed manner in which the Apple iPhone was released in Israel. Israelis were unable to get the iPhone until long after it had been released in America and Europe. They fear similar delays for the new iPad. The Israel Tech blog suggests that the issue is actually one of money,

But here’s what gives the game away: The BroadComm BCM4329 chipset is the SAME ONE in use in the latest editions of the iPhone and the iPad Touch – both of which are sold right here in Israel, by iDigital! Get it? If the problem is the Wifi chipset, then what difference does it make if it’s installed in an iPhone, iPod, or iPad? None! It only makes a difference to someone (or some entity) that has an interest in carving out for itself as much of a monopoly as they can get away with!

In the face of unsatisfactory explanations for the ban from Israeli government officials, speculation as to the reasons behind the ban are growing. Apple will release an iPad with a Wi-Fi chip meeting European standards with preorders and pricing available beginning in May. Perhaps that will put an end to the ban, but it would be helpful to understand the real reasoning behind it. I'd like to know whether an American tourist will ever be able to take an iPad into Israel if the European Wi-Fi standard is not met.

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Virginia DeBolt
BlogHer Contributing Editor|Web Teacher|First 50 Words

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