Information in the form of an electromagnetic wave travels through coaxial cable at approximately 66 percent of the speed of light, or about 111,769 miles per second. While aircraft cabin electronics technology moves at a considerably slower pace, it is nevertheless moving fast enough to send today’s marvels into tomorrow’s trash bin in as little as a year.
The world of instant communication is a prime example. In the 1990s there was the 0G satellite phone, which weighed nearly five pounds and sold for more than $3,000. It was followed by the 1G, also analog, and that was followed by the digital 2G smartphone, which begat the 3G, which begat the 4G at less than five ounces and a price tag as low as $200 (after rebate). Now the smartphone world is anxiously awaiting the 5G, anticipated late this year or early next.
Did you buy an iPad when it was introduced in early 2010? Or did you hold out for the iPad 2 that went on sale in March 2011? Bad news for those who waited and jumped on that iPad 2. The latest word is that the iPad 3 may go on sale early next year, with a bright, high-resolution, active-matrix organic light-emitting diode display screen.
So here we are, in that brave new world in which we are all connected, all the time. And it’s no different in the business jet cabin, racing along at about 475 knots at 41,000 feet, whether it’s high-speed Internet connectivity or control of the cabin environment with a simple app added to a personal iPad or smartphone.