I can see a time in 5–10 years when back of the seat IFEs go away. Aircraft orders take a long time to fulfill. A cabin design might have been completed several years prior. An A220 delivered today might have been ordered three years ago and designed five years before that. As a result, the IFEs might seem like the latest Android tablets from 2013.
In the meantime, the tablets and laptops have taken on many new form factors and are so much more capable — and cheaper. Why settle for mediocrity?
Airlines know this. What we’ll likely see in that same 5–10 year period is blazing fast Internet globally, powered by constellations of satellites that will drive down the cost of connectivity. Soon after, airlines might not even have to supply the WiFi. All devices will have satellite modems built in.
However, airlines might soon have to start thinking about wireless power charging for devices.