An iPad on an airplane

A spokesperson at the Federal Aviation Administration said they are reconsidering the requirement to turn off your gadgets on the plane while landing and taking off.  The F.A.A.'s deputy assistant administrator for public affairs said:

“With the advent of new and evolving electronic technology, and because the airlines have not conducted the testing necessary to approve the use of new devices, the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cellphones, on aircraft.”

Odds are a lot of you have heard the tired phrase "please turn off all electronics prior to take off and landing" when taking a flight.  The idea here is that they may interfere with the pilot's equipment. Of course, with the growing popularity of tablets like the iPad, there's been a significant amount of public push-back on this policy, since air travel is one of the best use cases for these kinds of devices.

The problem is, every individual tablet model has to be tested on an empty plane in flight, and repeated for each different model of aircraft that it wants to be certified for. As you can imagine, this can quickly become an expensive affair for airlines. It's worth noting that the F.A.A. isn't showing any interest in updating their policy for smartphone usage While it certainly makes sense for Apple to be getting friendly with investors by dishing out dividends, maybe they could spend some of that money to get iPads approved at least on U.S. flights.

Not that it needs any help, but it would be a huge selling point if the iPad was one of the few tablets you could use through the entire duration of a flight. It's too bad that the reconsideration isn't including smartphones, since the only real difference between them and tablets at this point is size.

Source: NY Times