Israel Bans iPad Over Wi-Fi Concerns; Puzzles Tech Experts
The Associated Press has reported that Israel has banned the import of iPads into the country. The move follows a directive from the country's Communications Ministry that has noted that the broadcast power level of Wi-Fi on the iPad is higher than the standard power level used in Wi-Fi modems in the country. This difference in power levels is expected to cause interference among the networks, which may consequently affect wireless communications.
Nati Schubert, a senior deputy director with Israel's Communications Ministry says:
"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. We don't care where people buy their equipment. … But without regulation, you would have chaos."
Israel is not the only country where such interferences could potentially occur. As Israeli officials point out, the country's regulations with respect to Wi-Fi are pretty similar to those that exist in Europe. With several Europeans reported to have already procured iPads from the US, Israel appears to be the only country that has raised an issue over iPad's Wi-Fi standards so far.
A lot of travelers and tourists have reportedly been inconvenienced by the newly imposed ban. Associated Press notes that close to 10 iPads have been confiscated by the Israeli custom officials so far with owners being asked to depart the country or ship the device back to the US. Additionally, the ban is also noted to have affected the small yet thriving community of app developers in Israel. Speaking to AP, Amnon, an Israeli software developer says:
"There are several hundred people in Israel who make their livelihood developing apps … and there are going to be companies that suffer, because they can't deliver the services they're supposed to be delivering"
Today, Yechiel Shavi the Israeli Ministry of Communications came out with the following statement:
"This device's wireless strengths violate Israeli law and will overpower other wireless devices in Israel."
He further added that the ban would be reversed if Apple releases a version of the iPad built according to European wireless specifications.
However, Apple spokesperson has said:
"iPad complies with international industry standards for Wi-Fi specifications."
Richard Doherty, an analyst with technology consulting firm Envisioneering Group, said that Israeli governments decision to ban the iPad "does not make sense" as Apple has used a standard Wi-Fi chip based on a widely-used industry standard in the iPad. He said: "If they're paranoid about the iPad then they should be paranoid about BlackBerrys and the iPhone," adding that the decision "seems to have no technical reason".
Let's hope the ban is not due to a political issue as it seems quite weird. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.