Apple’s iPad has been out for less than 2 weeks and it’s already a bona fide hit. In the first week the device was on sale, Apple managed to sell 500,000 units, and demand is so great here in the US that Apple announced on Wednesday morning that they would have to delay the international rollout of the iPad by a full month. As it stands now, the iPad won’t make its debut overseas until the end of May.
Still, that hasn’t stopped international iPad fans from getting their hands on Apple’s latest creation. Much like the iPhone when it was first released, eBay has proven to be a fertile breeding ground for iPad owners in the US looking to make a quick buck by selling the device to interested consumers abroad. Shockingly, some iPads are going for as much as $5,000 on the popular auction site.
But one country in particular isn’t hopping on the iPad bandwagon. Israel, to be exact. In fact, if you own an iPad and are planning to travel to the holy land anytime soon, you’d be well advised to leave the iPad at home, lest Israeli authorities confiscate it for not being compliant with the country’s wireless network standard.
A recent report in the Israeli paper Haaretz notes that the Israeli Communications Ministry has, for the time being, blocked the import of iPads while travelers bringing one into Israel will have it taken away by Israeli customs.
Israeli officials explained:
The iPad device sold exclusively today in the United States operates at broadcast power levels compatible with American standards. As the Israeli regulations in the area of WiFi are similar to European standards, which are different from American standards, which permit broadcasting at lower power, therefore the broadcast levels of the device prevent approving its use in Israel.
That, of course, begs the question – why aren’t European countries, then, banning the import of iPads?
In the meantime, Apple’s Israeli distributor is providing the Israeli Communications Ministry with information about the iPad in the hopes that the ban might soon be lifted. But until then, iPad-toting travelers are plum out of luck, with customs agents in Israel having already confiscated 10 iPads. Once an iPad is confiscated, owners have to apply to have it returned back to them (presumably to an overseas address), not to mention the fact that owners are charged a tax for each day their iPad remains on lock down.
So yeah, if you’re planning on going to Israel, leave your iPad at home.