Wondering Why You Can’t Pre-Order an iPad? It Isn’t Legal Yet Read More http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/01/wondering-why-you-cant-pre-order-the-ipad-it-isnt-legal-yet/#ixzz0f58gOQon
You know you can’t obtain an iPad for least three months, but you may not know the reason you can’t even buy one in advance: Apple has not yet obtained the necessary Federal Communications Commission approval to unleash it on the nation’s airwaves.
The specs on the iPad page mention the lack of FCC approval in tiny print that is easy to miss. And nobody seriously expects the iPad won’t be approved — Apple’s been through this before, with the launch of the first iPhone announced six months before it was available. And the “why?” is almost certainly to have kept as few people in the loop, and only those you could in some way control.
But in an e-mail sent to customers, Apple made the situation a bit more clear. “Some features and applications are not available in all areas,” reads the note. “Application availability and pricing are subject to change. This device has not yet been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.”
Apple has good reason to keep a government agency out of the advance loop, since somehow anything juicy is likely to see the light of day. Still, the FCC likes Apple right now, recently commending the company for reversing its policy against VOIP calling over AT&T’s 3G network, which allows the iPhone and iPad to be used as web phones.
However, the new reference in Apple’s e-mail about certain features and applications not being available or being priced differently depending on a customer’s location raises unanswered questions. It could refer to content-oriented applications (movies, books, magazines, etc.), which in their physical forms, vary in price based on location — we already know that this is true of books. But all we really know about that at this point is that the iPads sold in one area will differ in features and app prices from iPads sold in another area.
The FCC’s approval process is standard for electronic devices. The agency ensures that they don’t interfere with other wireless equipment, operate in an area of the spectrum that’s allocated for something else, or emit too much radiation into the people using them.
The agency approved the iPhone about a month after Apple announced it. Unless there’s an unexpected hiccup, it will most likely do the same for the iPad. A conspiracy theorist might say that Apple secretly hopes the FCC will step in and “force” it to sell the iPad to all of its potential customers, regardless of which wireless carrier or plan they want to use, but that seems like wishful thinking.