(photo credit: BLOOMBERG)
After making international headlines last month for being the country that banned iPads, Israel on Wednesday, became one of the first countries outside the United States to allow the commercial import of Apple’s popular tablet computer.
The Communications Ministry approved the unlimited import of iPads after allowing private imports at the end of April. In doing so Israel beat out other countries, which will only begin importing the popular new device later this month.
Last week Apple announced that the iPad will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK on May 28. The announcement was made days after the company reported the sale of its one-millionth iPad.
Chaim Zagoury, the owner of the online electronics store IPhone Israel, is one of the first Israelis to get a permit to import the device and said he had already started making sales Wednesday morning. Zagoury will be selling the touch-operated computer both online and by phone, and said he plans to open sales locations in the near future.
Last month the Communications Ministry had banned the import of iPads citing concerns over the device’s wireless Internet system’s compliance with local standards. Customs officials were confiscating devices from Israelis who bought the iPad in the United States.
Two weeks later, after facing criticism and ridicule, the ministry reversed its decision.
“I respect the ministry’s decision. It had to make certain that the device was suitable for the country’s wireless network. When they were, they didn’t hesitate to approve its import,” said Zagoury.
Zagoury said he was anticipating large-scale orders for the device, both from Israelis and residents of other countries.
“I have received orders from everywhere, from the Palestinian Authority to China. We will bring in as many as we can,” he said.
Other companies likely to begin import of the product are i-Digital,
Apple’s licensed distributor in Israel, and mobile phone operators, who
will seek to exploit the device’s sim-card operated Internet capability.
The tablet computer, which allows users to browse the Web, read and
send e-mail, view and share photos, watch high definition videos,
listen to music, play games, read electronic books and operate
thousands of specially created applications, will be sold in Israel for
prices ranging from NIS 3,500, for the basic 16 gigabyte model, to NIS
5,000 for the 64-gigabyte version.
Zagoury said that all devices sold come with a one-year guarantee and
in the future will have applications installed enabling a Hebrew
keyboard and interface.
“Software issues will be fixed locally and devices that require
hardware maintenance or replacement will be sent to the United States
for fixing,” said Zagoury.
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