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Major League Baseball updates rules to allow iPads in dugouts, with restrictions

Beginning on Monday, Major League Baseball rules will allow the iPad in dugouts for some tasks like checking charts, statistics, and scouting reports, according to an official announcement.

Initially, at least, the decision won't have any major impact on how games are played. Teams previously had access to the same information, just in paper form, making today's rollout largely about speed and convenience.

The league is also imposing strict limitations on how iPads can operate, as a way of deterring cheating. Authorized devices cannot connect to a Wi-Fi network, and teams can only use information transferred before the first pitch is thrown.

At least one team, the St. Louis Cardinals, was allowed to test iPads before today's formal rollout.

Tablets are becoming increasingly common in professional sports. In 2013 Microsoft scored a deal making the Surface the official tablet of the National Football League, though the ubiquity of the iPad in popular culture has led to problems with game announcers confusing the two products.