Questions. The iPad raises a lot of them. Like, "What's gonna happen when I carry it through airport security? Will I get fingerbanged by the TSA?" So, we asked the TSA: What's the official iPad airport security policy?
Their response simultaneously says very little, and very much:
Laptop computers or electronics similar in size must be removed from carry-on baggage and placed separately in bins. Small and portable electronic items do not need to be removed from their carrying cases. If a Transportation Security Officer cannot resolve an item in carry-on baggage on the X-ray screen, it may require additional screening.
Not a single mention of the iPad itself, but it seems to pretty clearly fall under "electronics similar in size" to laptops that require you pull it out of your bag. You could, I suppose, try to slip through, but you're basically asking to get some of that "additional screening" action. So, the safe way to play it? Treat it like a laptop.
To that end, I'd recommend a TSA-compliant laptop bag - almost all of which function by splitting apart, allowing the laptop section to be viewed separately under the X-ray scanner. I've only had to actually pull my laptop out of my Timbuk2 Commute 2.0 once, right after the underpants bomber incident. The points where the shoulder strap connects to the bag gets really squeaky after a few months, but it's a solid option, as is Case Logic's security-friendly backpack, for people who actually want to carry a balanced load. Oh, even though these bags have dedicated, padded laptop sleeves, I'd still keep my iPad in a book jacket style cover too, since I killed a Kindle I'd left naked in a laptop sleeve.
Next iPad etiquette question: Will I look like a member of the douchoise if I take it to brunch instead of a magazine? Well, maybe that question kind of answers itself. [TSA]