On a recent cross-country flight with my soon-to-be two year old daughter, I discovered the true magical nature of the iPad -- its ability to keep her entertained for several hours while confined to her seat. She spent time drawing with Adobe Ideas, reading The Cat In the Hat and watching several episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba and Dora the Explorer.
All was going well until the passenger seated at the window asked to pass by us to use the restroom. As I closed up the iPad to let the man go through, my daughter let out a scream the put the entire plane on notice that she was not happy to have her entertainment disrupted. I quickly set her back up with the iPad once the man passed by, but at that point a chill ran through my spine. I thought "what was going to happen when we needed to shut off all electronics for landing??"
Regardless of how you feel about my parenting techniques and using electronics to entertain a toddler, I didn't feel that cruising at 30,000 feet surrounded by strangers was the best time or place to try to instill a life lesson about hours of play time. Most people would be reluctant to constructive criticism at the tail end of a cross-country flight, let alone a jet-lagged two year old who just finished off her last Goldfish crackers.
Fortunately, over the next 30 minutes, I was able to ween my daughter away from the iPad with some $10 crackers and raisins and I avoided the catastrophic melt-down during the landing which I had envisioned.
My experience caused me to consider the rules currently in place during take-off and landing that require all electronics to be completely shut off. Sure, it may not seem like such a long time, but when you're trying to entertain a toddler, it feels like an eternity. How old is this rule and do we still need to have it in place? Are the communications electronics on the airplane so susceptible to electronic interference that a few games of Angry Birds could take down the aircraft? And if so... should we even be flying at all?? Don't get me wrong, if using electronics does cause measurable interference with the avionics, then I'd much rather put up with some crying kids (and adults) than land in the middle of Lake Erie. But let's at least collect some new data on this and see if we can rewrite some of the rules. There's a very good chance that even today, a number of electronics stored in suitcases and purses are NOT shut off during take-off, yet no crashes have been attributed to "rogue electronics interference".
Let's ask congress to take a break on investigating steroid use in the MLB and global warming, and put them to task on something that can have an immediate impact on millions of travelers!
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About the reviewer
I'm a technology early adopter. I thoroughly enjoy geeking out with the latest hardware, software and electronics. I probably have as much fun setting up, tweaking, and configuring systems as I do actually … more
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The iPad is a tablet computing device product from Apple Inc. The device was announced on January 27, 2010, at a press conference at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The device was rumored for several months, with iSlate and iTablet among rumored names. The device is expected to incorporate a 10-inch (26 centimeter) multi-touch display made by Innolux, a subsidiary of Foxconn. The price is expected to be more than the iPhone but less than an Apple notebook computer.
The iPad's lowest grade model with a 16GB hard drive will run for $499 dollars with the 32 GB running for $599 and the 64GB running at $699. Buyers will also have the opportunity to purchase the iPad with 3G connectivity with the lowest grade model starting at $629 and going up. The Wi-Fi models will ship in late March while the 3G models will ship in April.
Yair Reiner claims the iSlate will compete in the market against dedicated e-book devices such as the Barnes & Noble nook and the Amazon Kindle while offering 70% of revenue to publishers, the same arrangement accorded developers of the App Store. These arrangements would also extend to print publishers who currently receive less in digital work royalties from companies like Amazon.com.