iDigital: We did not cause iPad ban

By BEN HARMTAN
April 28, 2010 01:16

Apple importer worked to lift the tablet computer ban.

2 minute read.



iDigital CEO Eran Tor

eran tor 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The official importer of Apple products to Israel, iDigital, on Tuesday denied it had anything to do with the short-lived ban on importing iPad tablet computers, saying its staff worked as hard as they could to have the ban lifted.

The iPad went on sale in the United States on April 3, and will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK at the end of May.

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CEO Eran Tor told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that his company “had nothing to do with the Ministry of Communications ban,” and that once iDigital found out about it, “we worked very hard and very eagerly to get rid of it.”

Tor added that his company took lifting the ban seriously enough that its people worked “day and night” through Remembrance Day and Independence Day to convince the ministry to lift the order.

A week and a half ago, the Communications Ministry announced a ban on the import of iPads because the device’s Wi-Fi transmitter was set to American standards and could interfere with local Wi-Fi operations, including the IDF’s.

Related: MK Ilatov urges ministry to reconsider iPad ban

According to a press release issued by the ministry on Sunday, the decision to lift the ban came after “intensive technical scrutiny,” following which Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon (Likud) approved the device’s entry to the country.

Tor said using Wi-Fi technology made sense since other Apple products, the AirPort Express wireless base station and the Apple Time Machine backup utility, are currently unavailable in Israel for reasons similar to those that triggered the Israeli ban on the iPad.

Boaz Ordan, a well-known Apple enthusiast and importer in Israel, told the Post on Sunday that among local Apple fans, one of the main lines of speculation on the ban is that iDigital, which is owned by Chemi Peres, the son of President Shimon Peres, did not want people to bring in iPads before iDigital could sell them here.

Ordan said many people believe that considering the fact that Apple products often take a long time to reach Israeli stores, the ban “stinks like somebody had some interest involved.”

Tor took serious issue with this claim, saying that private importers “have a vested interest in smearing the official importer to Israel and creating a negative perception of iDigital.”

Furthermore, Tor said that iDigital wasn’t worried that the iPad would take a long time to reach Israel, therefore costing the company a large share of the market as potential customers opt to import it on their own.

“We are very certain the iPad will be here very soon. The only thing I can tell you is that it will be here in the coming months,” he said.

Following the lifting of the ban on Sunday, Israelis can each bring in a single iPad free of customs duty. Israelis and tourists whose iPads were confiscated by customs officials during the ban will be able to get them from customs and use them in Israel, though they may be asked to pay storage fees for the time the devices were impounded.

The iPad is a tablet device that combines the functions of a notebook computer with the touch-pad interface of the iPod or iPhone.


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