The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has confirmed a screening policy in the wake of the iPad release that will make airport security screening easier for many people. The TSA will allow passengers to leave netbooks, e-book readers such as Amazon's Kindle, and other "small gadgets" in their carry-on bags when they go through security checkpoints.
The TSA blog explicitly states that "Electronic items smaller than the standard sized laptop should not need to be removed from your bag or their cases. It’s that simple."
While the TSA doesn't state what dimensions constitute a "standard sized laptop," industry standards generally call anything with a 13-inch screen or larger a laptop and anything with a 12-inch screen or smaller a netbook. The TSA also says the Apple iPad and other similarly sized electronics can also remain in bags during security checks.
Any other large electronics, which includes gaming consoles and video cameras that still use cassettes must be taken out of bags and scanned separately, the TSA said. Laptops in special TSA approved laptop bags can remain in carry-on luggage.
The TSA blog also says that smaller electronics doesn't necessarily cut down on delays or bag searches:
"Our officers are trained to look for anomalies to help keep air travel safe, and if something needs a closer look, it will receive secondary screening. The key to avoiding bag searches is keeping the clutter down. The less clutter you have in your bag, the less likely it will be searched."
The TSA Blog Team also noted that TSA is currently "refreshing the workforce on this." So it's conceivable that until they have been briefed on the new policy, some TSA personnel may still require netbooks and e-readers to be taken out of bags.