On Tuesday, JetBlue Flight 915 from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to San Francisco was diverted to Michigan after a lithium-ion battery in a device in a passenger's bag caused a fire.
It's an occurrence that exposes one of the major dangers experts have associated with the Trump administration's ban on large electronics in the cabins of certain airliners.The Airbus A321, with 158 passengers and crew on board, landed safely at Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids around 8 p.m. local time.According to the airline, the decision to divert was made after reports of smoke emitting from a carry-on bag holding an electronic device. However, airport authorities say the fire onboard the aircraft had been extinguished by the time the plane landed.On May 30, JetBlue Flight 915 from New York's JFK to San Francisco diverted to Grand Rapids, Mich., following reports of smoke emitting from a carry-on bag holding an electronic device, JetBlue said in a statement. The flight landed safely, and the aircraft was inspected by maintenance crews before customers continued on to San Francisco.
There have been persistent concerns about the increased risk of cargo fires caused by lithium batteries in the bellies of commercial airliners.Lithium-ion batteries are inherently volatile, Michael Mo, the cofounder and CEO of KULR Technology, told Business Insider earlier this year. It's statistics. It's not a matter of if, but a matter of when, one of these things blow.According to Mo, who specializes in thermal-management systems for batteries, it's better for the batteries to be in the cabin as opposed to the cargo hold. He said that when a fire happens, it's better to have humans nearby to react and put out the fire.This is what seems to have happened onboard Flight 915.Fortunately for JetBlue, no injuries have been reported, and the flight was able to carry on to San Francisco after the airport's fire department cleared the aircraft.The Trump administration's laptop ban has been in place since March and covers nonstop flights to the US from 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The Department of Homeland Security is evaluating an expanded ban that would include nonstop flights from Europe, but no formal decision has been made.
Palm and Android smartphones have had wireless charging since 2009 — the new iPhones actually work with Samsung wireless chargers. Wireless charging, however, powers up your phone significantly slower than being plugged in. I've used Qi wireless charging before, the same technology Apple's using, and I wasn't impressed.I believe Apple is pushing wireless charging because it recognizes a major user-experience issue has cropped up: People have too many Apple products to charge.Consider Apple's core customer: say, a relatively wealthy American who owns an iPhone, loves their Apple Watch, and uses Apple's nifty wireless AirPods as headphones. Apple execs like CEO Tim Cook or software engineering head Craig Federighi fit right into this mold.Now imagine their nightstand. It's positively covered with various cords because Apple's products need a top-up daily — at least one for an iPhone and a separate one for the Apple Watch, and don't forget to plug in your headphones or you could be stuck without a way to listen to music. And that's not counting their iPad or laptop.
That's a mess, it's inelegant, and Apple's top leadership faces it every night. Apple's reputation is built on it delivering an excellent user experience, and that experience now involves desks covered with Apple's iconic white cords.Maybe that's why Apple preannounced a wireless charger that seems designed to solve this exact issue, though it has no release date more specific than next year, and reports from Apple's factories suggest the product is not close to mass production.Apple's promotional image for its AirPower wireless charger shows a mat charging AirPods, an Apple Watch, and an iPhone all at the same time. That's where Apple will innovate, and that's its concept for the product: charging multiple things. Just throw your Apple gadgets on the pad.Perhaps in the future, Apple will expand the concept to the desk, too, so you could charge your mouse, keyboard, or Apple TV remote.Apple is primarily a hardware company that has built its reputation on having the best user experience, with software and hardware that sweats the little things and works together seamlessly. Right now, for reasons out of Apple's control — the limitations of battery science, the growth of wearables — that user experience now involves cords everywhere.
Apple sees a way to distinguish itself by making wireless power that works together with other Apple products. So wireless charging on the iPhone 8 isn't about convenience today, especially with its limitations — it's about creating a new competitive advantage in the future.Washington (AFP) - US authorities are considering banning carry-on computers on European flights to the United States, widening the security measure introduced for flights from eight countries in March, an official said Tuesday.The Department of Homeland Security is close to making a decision on a wider ban as the busy summer transatlantic travel season looms, department spokesman David Lapan said.Airlines flying to the United States from European airports that would be involved in implementing the policy have been given a warning that it is under consideration, he told journalists.But the secretary has not made a formal decision, he said, referring to DHS chief John Kelly.In March, Washington banned passengers on direct flights to the United States from 10 airports in eight countries from carrying on board laptop computers, tablets and other electronic devices larger than cellphones.
The affected airports are in Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East.Britain followed with a similar ban applying to incoming flights from six Middle East and North African countries.The move, which forces passengers to put their devices into checked baggage, came as counter-terror officials developed concerns that jihadist groups were devising bombs disguised as batteries in consumer electronics.A bomb that blew a hole in the fuselage of a Somalian airline in February 2016, killing one person, is believed to have been built into a laptop computer carried into the passenger cabin. The US Government has thrown the world of travel into chaos again by banning tablets, laptops and other electronic devices from cabins of planes originating in 8 African and Middle Eastern countries (Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates). These devices will have to be packed in checked-in luggage.The US transportation safety administration (TSA) has stated and other security officials have said that the move is in response to intelligence indicating that the group ISIS is developing the capability of targeting aircraft with explosives hidden in batteries in electronic devices. There has been no indication that this move is in response to a specific threat of a planned attack.
The UK followed with a similar ban except that it only covers 6 countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.Electronics … should be packed in carry-on luggage because they are typically fragile, expensive, and more prone to breaking if transported in checked baggage.Add to that the fact that airlines and aviation authorities have been especially cautious of putting devices with lithium batteries in the cargo hold and the move of the US starts to make less sense as a security measure.There has already been extra safety rules regarding electronic devices being carried to the US with the requirement that the batteries are fully charged so that the devices can be switched on to check if they are functioning by security staff. That check, as well as a visual inspection of the device stopped being an option when the devices are put in checked in luggage.Terrorism experts believe that these moves will do little to minimize the threat of a remote-controlled explosive device. If it is really the case that these devices will be hard for regular security to spot, it is should be as easy to get them onto a flight from a country not covered by this ban. There is nothing intrinsically unsafe about Dubai International Airport. In fact, Abu Dhabi International Airport, also covered by the ban already implements the US Homeland Security pre-clearance techniques.
There is then the question devices with lithium batteries and the potential for fires. This is actually made worse by the fact that these devices could be thrown about when inside luggage, not only causing damage to the device but potentially damaging the battery and causing a fire.For travellers, it is not just the inconvenience of not being able to work on a laptop or tablet during the flight, but for the business travellers, traveling with carry-on luggage only will no longer be an option. This may seem like a small thing but waiting for luggage and risking losing that luggage will add a significant stress to business travel.Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates is the busiest airport in the world and handled 78 million passengers in 2015. It is the main hub for Emirates which flies direct to the US. It has been suggested that the fact that Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways were included in this ban by the US but not the UK could be more to do with actions by their US competitors than anything related to safety.
US airlines have long complained that the Gulf State airlines receive subsidies from their governments and so represent unfair competition. President Trump has been threatening to deal with these airlines and protect the US’s national carriers.For travellers needing to go to the US who would normally travel through one of the effected airports, all electronic devices other than mobile phones will have to be packed in checked-in luggage.All of the advice from insurers, travel sites and the TSA themselves has always been not to pack an expensive laptop in checked in luggage. If you do, then make sure that there is a backup left at home or work, that the computer is locked and preferably the disks encrypted.Make sure the device is switched off and not simply asleep. Putting the device in a protective sleeve may help with impacts and using a solid shell suitcase an advantage.For some travellers, leaving laptops in checked in luggage will represent a security risk and it is highly likely that security agencies, amongst others, will take advantage of the relative ease of access to targeted devices to examine them.
If at all possible, take an alternative inexpensive laptop, Chromebook or tablet instead. Keep sensitive documents on a USB and not on the device.It is entirely possible that other countries may follow the move of the US and UK but it may still be possible to take a different airline using a route that doesn’t go through the Middle East.Another option is not to travel to the US at all. 6,600 academics have signed a pledge to boycott all international conferences held in the US in response to Trump’s first Muslim Ban.Right before Christmas, Consumer Reports, one of the most famous product review publications, announced that it could not recommend Apple's latest MacBook Pro because of inconsistent battery life.But shortly after the review was published, questions about Consumer Reports' testing surfaced, such as how it claimed to get both 3.75 hours of battery life and 19.5 hours from the same laptop — which is obviously a huge disparity.