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Israel has lifted its ban on Apple's iPad, but Apple is likely to run into similar problems in countries where it must pass interference regulatory tests in advance of the official launch of the device in those countries.
The problem is with iPads purchased in the United States that are brought into other countries, like Israel, which haven't tested the device for possible interference problems. Israel banned the iPad two weeks ago after several were brought into the country from the United States. The ban was lifted last weekend after the Israel communications ministry said after "intensive technical scrutiny" it determined the device didn't cause any interference problems.
Ministry spokespeople said the iPad met wireless interference standards set by European regulatory agencies, which are followed by the Israel ministry. Specifically, the iPad's Wi-Fi access point solution does not interfere with other wireless devices, the ministry added.
Several iPads had been confiscated from travelers carrying the device and those devices will be returned to their owners, the ministry added.
The issue now swings to South Korea, which hasn't yet weighed in on the iPad's potential for interfering with other electronic devices. The approval is in abeyance waiting for Apple to announce the formal launch of the device in South Korea.
The issue has already become controversial because Yu In-chon, South Korea's culture minister, used an imported iPad to display a presentation in which he extolled the benefits of electronic books. Critics scolded the minister for using the iPad before it had been officially launched in South Korea.
"Even if you buy one for personal use, you have to go through a technical procedure to see whether the device can fit into domestic technological conditions," said a Korea Communications Commission spokesman, according to Korean media reports. "We don't treat (the) iPad differently from other devices."
The South Korea culture ministry sought to wiggle out of criticism by noting that Minister Yu didn't use Wi-Fi connectivity in his presentation.