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Apple's iPad easier on airport screener's eyes

business Updated: Apr 07, 2010 11:46 IST

Apple's iPad tablet is friendlier than a traditional laptop when it comes to airport security.

The Transportation Security Administration has said that in general you should not need to remove your iPad from your bag. That's because it's relatively small and people who carry the device often don't have bulky accessories like plugs and external drives that clutter the image when computer bags are screened.

Screeners may still ask you to remove your iPad if they can't get a clear image of the device.

Apple Inc. delivered more than 300,000 iPads on Saturday, the first day the device went on sale.

The iPad is not a personal computer, but it does allow users to do several of the key functions they can do on a computer, like send e-mail, watch movies and surf the Internet.

The models currently sold connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi; prices start at $499. A second wave of buyers may emerge when Apple starts selling versions that can also get online using cellular networks; those models start at $629.

Many companies have tried to sell tablet computers before, but none has caught on with mainstream consumers.

Strong marketing and the wow-factor of the iPad have caused enormous interest, which means security screeners are bound to see more of the devices come through airports.

The TSA, which is in charge of airport security, is in the process of telling officers about how the iPad figures into screening procedures, spokesman Greg Soule said.

Laptops generally have to be removed from computer bags and placed on the security conveyor belt separately.

But several manufacturers sell a laptop sleeve with a removable shoulder strap. It can unfold to lie flat on the airport X-ray machine belt. TSA will allow you to keep your laptop in those bags during the screening process if security can capture a clear and unobstructed image of the laptop.