Tuesday, June 17, 2008

FlyPods: Power to the people

Tired of inflight movies you'd never even rent on DVD? Listening to the cockpit put you to sleep? Word up for the head's up to colleague and fellow iPod junkie Jeff W on Apple's latest conquest: United Airline's inflight entertainment.

According to the press release I received (which does not yet appear on the slow-to-load United site):

"United guests may now reach cruising altitude with a new, personalized in-flight entertainment system. United is the first U.S. carrier to offer iPod and iPhone connectivity to its in-flight entertainment system, enabling customers to enjoy their individual content on a 15.4-inch personal television, all while the iPod or iPhone charges...Our guests may now watch or listen to what they want, when they want with programming they choose..."

I applaud the airline for seeing their customer's use of the portable music/video devices and responding to that in conjunction with a savvy marketing partner...Apple (sorry, sounds like Zune/MP3 players will have to await the aftermarket to create adapters).

One (well, this one anyway) wonders if there won't be unintended consequences of 'personal preferences' that are visible in 'public places'. One person's personal entertainment preference in the privacy of their seatback monitor might be another person's unfriendly skies when viewed from just across the aisle afterall.

Personally, I'd just be grateful for a functional power supply at each seat.

Either way, jacking in your own choice of video and music--using headphones--seems a nice step forward in customizing the otherwise uniformly dull flight experience. It certainly beats the open mike flight that unrestricted inflight phone use would beget...so if this keeps people's eyes and ears occupied while maintaining the choice to enjoy the silent skies, then go team!

For an interesting, slightly more serious look at the ethical issues of personal technology choices inflight, enjoy the following article on in-flight cell phone use. How would you respond?

Speaking of people power...here's to oddly human powered music...or is that just oddly powered music?

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