Newest iPad Peripheral: an Airplane
Like any new product, the iPad in its initial stages is being put to uses the manufacturers may never had intended. We've seen it as a car stereo
, as a medical records system...
even a skateboard deck
. The latest application may not be entirely far-fetched, but it may also end up becoming the first way many people ever come into contact with an iPad: as entertainment on long airline flights.
BlueBox Avionics, a UK company that puts together portable inflight entertainment (IFE) solutions for airlines, has announced bluebox Ai
, an iPad-based secure wireless system for commercial jets. The iPads would come pre-loaded with apps and would be able to screen new-release movies and TV shows that aren't yet available on DVD or streamable - what the company calls "early-window IFE content" - that airlines are licensed to show their passengers. The key piece seems to be the BlueBox "proprietary security solution" that would let the system multicast on-demand content without the risk that it would be pirated.
This sounds like it would be a pretty impressive service that airlines could offer to get more media-savvy customers, much like how JetBlue offers DirectTV in the US, or how Virgin America touts their WiFi. But some observers are skeptical. Emerging media consultant Steven Frischling told Air Transport Intelligence
that he wonders whether airlines are going to "want to deploy a non-rugged, all-glass screen device that is known to torque and crack on impact to [their] passengers." Ow.
image via BlueBox Avionics