Apple iPad Banned in Israel, Thanks to WiFi

Israeli customs is apparently confiscating any Apple iPads that enter the country, after Israel's Communications Ministry decided that the tablet PC's WiFi could potentially interfere with other wireless devices. Some 10 iPads have been apparently confiscated so far this week, and will be held until their owners either leave the country or volunteer to ship the devices back home. More than 500,000 iPads were sold during the device's first week of U.S. release, according to the company, in turn forcing delays in its international rollout.

Note to tech-savvy travelers: Avoid bringing your iPad to Israel, at least for the time being. New regulations dictate that devices entering the country be confiscated with all due speed, apparently due to their WiFi capability.

Israel's Communications Ministry has cited the iPad's non-compliance with European wireless standards, which Israel follows, as the specific reason behind the ban. Those standards dictate that the power of the device's wireless signal be weaker than is customarily allowed by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States.

Some 10 iPads have apparently been confiscated this week by Israeli customs, which plans on holding them until their owners either leave the country 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."

Apple has met with considerable sales success for the iPad during the device's first week of U.S. sales, delivering more than 500,000 units and apparently exceeding the company's internal predictions. That demand, according to the company, has apparently led to a postponement in the iPad's international launch.

"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 April 14, "but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason-the iPad is a runaway success in the United States thus far."

During an April 8 news conference at Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, CEO Steve Jobs announced that around 600,000 iBooks and 3.5 million applications had been downloaded by iPad owners since the device's April 3 release. 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 somewhat more 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.