For some people, buying up iPads in the US in bulk and selling them in their home countries for $2,000 and more means serious business. But don’t do that in Israel, at least for now. The country’s Ministry of Communications has started banning all iPad imports yesterday because of the difference in Wi-Fi standards in the US and Israel.
The ministry argues that Israel’s regulations in that area are more similar to the ones used in Europe and that the iPad, in its current form, is just compatible with American Wi-Fi standards (it’s on sale in the US only at this point). Those standards permit broadcasting at lower power, apparently making approval in Israel impossible.
Engineers in the ministry refused to check whether the current version of the iPad is compatible with national regulations, too. At least, they have already asked Apple’s Israeli distributor iDigital [HB] to provide more technical information on the device, which means the ban might get lifted soon.
But if you’re currently planning to get some iPads from the US for your friends in Israel, forget it: it looks like all devices will be confiscated at the air port. One guy who tried yesterday was told by authorities to send back the iPad he brought home from the US. That iPad was only one of ten that were confiscated yesterday at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv (apparently, declaring or paying taxes doesn’t help either).