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Lifetime iPad Ban?

Apple iPad
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Apple iPad

Just as Israel is lifting the ban on iPads, one Californian has learned there is a limit to how many you can buy.

In one lifetime.

Going by the name "Protocol Snow,"the man, who claims to be a medical student, blogs that an Apple store in Los Angeles notified him he could buy no more iPads...ever.

He bought five before the hammer fell.

Why so many?

"When Apple delayed the international iPad launch by a month, early adopters worldwide started to panic," he writes. "Since my nearby Apple store initially had plenty of stock, I offered to purchase and ship iPads internationally for members of the NeoGAF gaming forum." The man says he began taking orders, charging a markup to cover taxes and international shipping costs, and then started visiting his local Apple store on a regular basis, buying two at a time.

So far so good.

But about a week ago, he went in to pick up another reserved iPad, when the Apple employee suddenly took his credit card and went to the "Genius Bar." He knew the jig was up when the employee started talking to a co-worker about his credit card.

Here's part of what he says happened next between him and the employee, whom he calls "Guy #1":

Guy #1 - "I'm sorry sir, but you have reached your lifetime limit of iPad purchases and will not be allowed to buy any more."

Protocol Snow (anticipating that statement) - "Is the iPad limit per person? Per credit card? Per household?"

Guy #1 - "All I can say is that you have reached your lifetime limit."

Protocol Snow - "What does that mean? Can I use a different credit card to buy it? I'm buying this for a friend."

Guy #1 - "You are not allowed to buy this iPad."

Protocol Snow - "Uhh… is it ok if I have a family member or friend come to buy it for me? My reservation doesn't expire until 6:00 PM."

Guy #1 - "All I can say is that you have reached your lifetime limit."

Protocol Snow - (suddenly realizing what he's saying) - "Wait, what? Lifetime? What does that mean?"

Guy #1 - "All I can say is that you have reached your lifetime limit of iPads and will not be allowed to buy any more."

Really?

I've emailed Apple and Protocol Snow for more information. If I hear back, I'll update. Analyst Jeff Orr is quoted in Sci-Tech Todaysuggesting that Apple may be trying to discourage resales, and that the alleged lifetime ban might not have anything to do with inventory levels on a large scale.

"This seems to be specific to a single store, and could be about how they are managing inventory and trying to serve more customers," Orr is quoted as saying.

"Protocol Snow" says that, ironically, this was the first time he'd ever bought an Apple product. "Was it worth all that effort driving around after long days working at the hospital? Financially, no," he writes. "But 5 diehard Apple fans in countries around the world are now very happy and spreading the iPad love to friends and co-workers, who would not have seen the iPad in person for a month at the very minimum. A couple of them have requested that I buy a few more iPads for their friends. I had to decline because… well, Apple banned me."

Update: Apple's Steve Dowling tells me the company has no response to the story beyond the information on the company web site which says "order limit: two per customer."

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