The Federal Aviation Authority is reported to be taking a fresh look at the use of electronic devices on board aircraft, with special attention to be given to the iPad. It is not before time and, if the FAA does introduce new regulations, it is to be hoped the relaxation will extend to other countries. I’m a layman in these matters, but it does seem that the blanket ban on electronic devices during takeoff and landing could be overdone.
If a device is in air mode, with all wireless switched off, I cannot see that it can pose a danger. I suppose the problem is in telling whether or not a phone or tablet is in fact in air mode. It’s obviously impractical for in-flight staff to verify the status of every device, even if they knew how, so probably that is why we have a blanket catch-all ban. As far as I know, however, it has never been conclusively proved that electronic devices interfere with an aircraft’s systems and it is high time that the FAA reviewed the current unsatisfactory situation.