Looking at the modern commercial airplane cockpit, one can come to no other conclusion than that pilots really need more gadgets in there. Thankfully, tablet computers that can be worn as knee pads are available now to give the extra distraction every aviator craves.
Actually, the idea to equip pilots with iPads isn't so they'll have more things to fiddle with while flying, but so they'll have less of them. Alaska thinks they can put an end to the stacks of maps and paperwork that pilots bring on board and exchange them for a handy-dandy computer with everything they need.
Alaska Airlines is evaluating Apple's iPad with "a select group of pilots," says spokeswoman Maryanne Lindsay. "We're hoping to hear in the next week or two" whether they'd like to go further with their testing, she adds, declining to go into details.
Southwest Airlines is already using iPads on the ground for maintenance purposes, and Alaska pilots are "clamoring" to get their hands on the in-flight version.
But where will an iPad fit in the button-and-switch-covered cockpit? Good question--and one that's not fully worked out yet, but Alaska officials say it will be somewhere in the cockpit.
Not to be outdone by its chief rival in its own home city, Microsoft would like to remind everyone that the Kinect for Xbox 360 has in-flight applications too.