Apple iPads for Everyone (Except Israelis, Students and Doctors)

Last Updated Apr 19, 2010 10:55 AM EDT

Steve Jobs' plan is to make the Apple iPad an every machine to everyone, but it's becoming clear that universities, hospitals and even whole countries won't embrce his magical device anytime soon.

Several universities have already banned iPad use from campus. From the tech blog TFTS:

The iPad has been banned at Cornell University, Princeton University and George Washington University. Students won't be able to use the iPad in any of these three campuses to surf the Internet, which is definitely not good news for all those students that purchased the Wi-Fi version of the iPad already.

The reason? Security issues and bandwidth consumption. Cornell is concerned with the fact that iPad usage will clog their wireless network while the Princeton and George Washington see the iPad as a security threat.

Now that's definitely not what Apple wanted, is it? Especially since Cupertino has tried to pitch this tablet to students as a great device ready to offer them fast access to eBooks and other educational materials.

This is bad. First, this severely cripples Apple's ability to sell books -- expensive academic books -- since students won't be able to take them around campus. Picture the bad kids behind the dorms making out, getting high and using their wi-fi iPad. Second, being a conservative lot, other universities without major tech programs will follow suit.

Next is the idealized goal of having hospitals use the iPad for record keeping, suggested diagnoses and so on, like Doctor McCoy in the Enterprise's sick bay. No major hospital has jumped on board -- and for good reasons:

  • Bad security: It's already understood that the iPad is just about as secure as the iPhone -- that is, not very. How can you guarantee safe patient records from both a legal (for the board members) and psychological (for the patients themselves) standpoint?
  • Unsanitary devices: Xomplex procedures are used to create a sterile, safe environment. A greasy touchscreen would create the opposite of that.
  • No Incentive: A killer app (or 5) would help motivate adoption. None are here yet.
There may be iPads in the medical world's future, but not anytime soon.

Finally, the biggest controversy is Israel's -- yes, the whole country -- decision to ban iPad. From the WSJ :

Israel this week has been blocking travelers from bringing Apple Inc.'s new iPad into the country, saying the device's wireless technology threatens to create interference with other products, a move that has puzzled people both in Israel and Silicon Valley.

The Ministry of Communications said the ban was instituted earlier this week because the iPad's Wi-Fi wireless technology was built to the U.S. standard, which allows stronger signals than those allowed in Europe and Israel.

"This device's wireless strengths violate Israeli law and will overpower other wireless devices in Israel," ministry spokesman Yechiel Shavi said.

Mr. Shavi said once Apple releases a version of the device built according to European wireless specifications, the ban will be reversed. An Apple spokeswoman said the "iPad complies with international industry standards for Wi-Fi specifications."

The decision has left many scratching their heads. Travelers have been bringing laptops and cellphones configured to U.S. standards, including other Apple devices with the same wireless configuration, into Israel for years without incident. Some Israeli lawmakers alleged on Friday the decision undermines Israel's status as a global leader in the high-tech industry.

Huh? For all its fancy additions, the iPad is, essentially, a big iPod Touch, and, as far as I know, Israel has a strong, thriving and, I imagine now, very disappointed tech community. In fact, according to the WSJ, "in late 2008... Nehemia Peres, the son of Israeli President Shimon Peres, bought the company that has exclusive rights to sell Apple products in Israel, iDigital. Israel's first Apple store opened in Tel Aviv in January 2009." Go figure. RELATED: