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Israel iPad Ban Lifted

GRANT SLATER   04/25/10 09:41 AM ET   AP

Ipad

JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday lifted a ban on Apple Inc.'s popular 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, touchscreen 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 nations, but Israel 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-pad functions of the iPod.

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 lawmaker, Robert Ilatov, told the Haaretz newspaper last week.

"We have nothing against Apple products. We like the iPhone here in Israel," Shabi said.

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Filed by Bianca Bosker  |