Importing the new iPhone? Not so fast…
Here they go again. The Communications Ministry has banned imports of the iPhone 4S, Apple’s latest. You would have thought Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon would have learned from the previous debacle, where his agency attempted to ban Apple’s iPad. That ended after massive public pressure forced Kahlon to change his mind.
In the iPad version of the story, the Communications Ministry claimed that the iPad’s WiFi specifications did not match Israeli standards and Apple needed to tweak the device before it could be imported. Everyone knew that the story was a bunch of hoo-ee. There’s no difference between WiFi in Israel and Europe and the iPad was designed to work with WiFi anywhere in the world.
The real reason, clearly, was that the cellular companies, which wanted first crack at selling the device, had colluded with the Communications Ministry to get a head start.
This time around, the Communications Ministry didn’t even hide its corruption. According to The Jerusalem Post, importers won’t be able to bring in the phone “until Israeli mobile carriers launch (the) iPhone 4S” and, until then, “the ministry will not issue a certificate for a new device and will not allow it into the country.”
Could they be any more obvious?
The article continued that this plan was part of a telecommunications law “reform.” I’m guessing that the social justice protesters this summer weren’t pushing for this kind of reform.
It isn’t clear whether the ban refers only to commercial importers or to individuals as well. In any case, since the iPhone 4S is identical in design to the iPhone 4 (which is permitted), unless customs officials are particularly savvy, it’s doubtful they’ll flag the phone. Unless the owner decides to declare it through the “red line” at the airport.
In response to inquiries, The Post quoted the Communications Ministry as saying, “Following the request by the importers and mobile carriers on this matter, the ministry is in the approval process, and commercial imports of the devices will be approved as soon as possible.”