The FCC prevents the use of personal gadgets on an airliner until cruising altitude (10,000 feet) has been reached. But it has become obvious that the use of these devices during takeoff and landing do not cause interference that will quickly put a plane into a tailspin from which it cannot recover. Furthermore, the FAA has recently allowed certain airlines to replace certain heavy, paper charts and maps used by pilots in the cockpit, with an Apple iPad. If a tablet can be used in the cockpit without planes falling from the sky, they are safe for passenger use is the theory coming from some supporters.
The recommendation made by the advisory committee would still require gadget owners to shut down all the radios on their device by using Airplane Mode. In other words, no one will be able to use the internet, download data or make and take calls. But the device could be used to read a book, watch YouTube videos loaded to your device before boarding the plane and listen to music. The new plans could be implemented in early 2014 if the FAA doesn't bog it down by requiring carrier by carrier approval. But Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, a critic of the current regulations, says that if the FCC starts stalling, she will introduce legislation to remove the current rules "swiftly".
source: AP via SlashGear