After a tweet from Charlene Li informed travellers worldwide that the iPad didn't have to be put in a separate bin at airport security checkpoints because it lacked a hard drive and CPU, many have questioned the TSA policy that requires passengers to remove laptops from their cases for inspection.
In its PR blog, Blogger Bob, the TSA answered the question very simply.
"Electronic items smaller than the standard sized laptop should not need to be removed from your bag or their cases. It’s that simple."
Citing the proliferation and ubiquity of small digital communication devices, the TSA understands that requiring the removal of any device that has computing power will lead airport security down a slippery slope. A line has to be drawn, and the TSA draws it at the standard size of a laptop.
While one could criticize the decision of the TSA to allow the iPad through security without separate screening, there is no denying the huge marketing boost this gives Apple; they can now add "travel friendly" to their list of reasons to buy an iPad. This advantage will be a key selling point once the 3G-capable iPad is released, making the already portable iPad even more convenient for frequent travelers.