The FAA is taking "a fresh look" at its longstanding ban on the use of personal electronic devices on planes during takeoff and landing, writes Nick Bilton of the New York Times.
In light of multiple studies that suggests such devices aren't an in-flight danger, the FAA has agreed to test gadgets on planes for the first time since 2006.
As Bilton notes, that test took place before the boom of tablets and e-readers, so the FAA has never collected actual data supporting the restriction of Kindles and iPads on planes. Smartphones, unfortunately, are still not up for reconsideration.
Under current policy, airlines can ask that their passengers be allowed to use certain devices, but the airlines must demonstrate the safety of those gadgets. Because no airline has yet been willing to pay for those studies, the FAA has apparently decided to take matters into its own hands.
It may take a while, though: each individual version of each device has to be tested on a passenger-less plane before it can be approved, which is both expensive and time-consuming.
Still, the FAA has approved iPads for pilots, so it's not that farfetched to assume passengers could be next.