Israel ends brief ban on iPad
Israel has lifted a ban on Apple's new iPad tablet computer, ending restrictions that had been imposed over concerns the gadget's wireless signal could disrupt other devices.
Communications Ministry officials conducted "intensive technical scrutiny in a controlled laboratory" before deciding to allow the iPad into the country, said Yechiel Shabi, a ministry spokesman.
Israel announced the ban shortly after the iPad's April 3 launch in the U.S.
Officials said at least 10 of the flat, touch-screen computers were seized at the country's international airport.
Shabi said owners of the confiscated iPads would be permitted to retrieve them.
Israeli standards mirror those of many European countries, but it has been the only country to ban iPad imports ahead of the product's international release. Apple has delayed the launch until late May, citing heavy sales in the U.S.
The iPad combines the features of a notebook computer with the touch-screen functions of the iPhone.
The ban prompted grumbling from Israeli tech enthusiasts and software developers in a country that is widely considered to be a technology powerhouse.
Shabi said the Communications Ministry quickly reached out to Apple to seek more information about the machine's wireless signals.
"Of course, in the mainstream media, it was bad PR and we didn't like this," Shabi said. "But we said we would test it and it took us a week. I think that is very fast."
The ministry has denied the ban had anything to do with concern that the signal could cause interference to signals of military equipment, as one legislator, Robert Ilatov, told the Haaretz newspaper last week.
"We have nothing against Apple products," Shabi said. "We like the iPhone here in Israel."
Apple has said the iPad will be available in some countries outside the U.S. at the end of May.
The device has caused some controversy elsewhere, too. South Korea’s culture minister, Yu In-chon, used an iPad to demonstrate e-books at a government briefing.
The tablet is not available in South Korea and the country's communications commission hasn't approved it for wireless use yet. Yu issued a statement saying the iPad's wireless networking was turned off for the demonstration.