Sometimes it's the simple things that make one realize how quickly technology is morphing our environment. Now there are applications aplenty for business aircraft.

Want to dim the lights? Cool off? Angle that seat back? Change the DVD? Use an app — cabin management system (CMS) makers have them in spades. Need to charter a jet tonight? There's an app for that, too, thanks to London-based Air Charter, which recently announced it has developed an iPhone app for business and leisure travelers interested in flying by private jet.

The new app provides fingertip access to thousands of aircraft worldwide and can be downloaded by searching for “Air Partner” or “private jets” in Apple's iTunes Store. Users can obtain an estimated price based on their chosen one-way or return routing, the number of passengers and travel dates. Search results also display the flight time, plus images and details about the aircraft offered. A GPS airport search facility and a favorite airport save function are optional. The app is free to download and is available in seven key languages.

Speaking of things Apple, at least one air carrier will begin offering iPads to passengers as part of its inflight entertainment (IFE) service. Many cabin electronics OEMs already have or soon will make their IFE offerings as Android-, Apple-, Linux- and Windows-savvy as possible for passengers unwilling to give up their reliance on electronic appendages for the duration of the flight. For this reason, personal electronic devices may hold an edge on seatback IFE. Some of the latest computer games, for example, require “gesture” commands, such as tilting the device, which requires the unit to be equipped with accelerometers and inclinometers — something not typically found in seatback IFE hardware.

Samsung's 10-in. Galaxy Tab or similar tablet computers will be the first to seriously threaten Apple's iPad dominance in the passenger cabin, say industry observers. As evidence, American Airlines chose to replace its current flock of personal entertainment devices (PEDs) in premium cabins on transatlantic and some international flights with 6,000 new Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets.

Passengers today expect an aircraft cabin system that is on par or better than the digital systems they have in their homes and offices. The industry highlights that follow, as well as the accompanying product and service listings, indicate that the OEMs understand this very well indeed.