Palm restores Pre iTunes syncing in update | iLounge News


Palm restores Pre iTunes syncing in update

Palm has released webOS 1.2.1 for its Palm Pre smartphone, restoring the device’s Media Sync functionality—which allows it to sync with iTunes by masquerading as an iPod—while adding the ability to sync photos. As it has done in the past, webOS 1.2.1 achieves this by identifying itself over the USB connection as an Apple product, complete with Apple’s USB Vendor ID number. This behavior was specifically mentioned and frowned upon in a letter sent last month by the USB Implementers Forum to Palm regarding Apple using its Vendor ID to restrict syncing capability to its own products. In a statement to AllThingsD, Apple said, “As we’ve said before, newer versions of Apple’s iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with unsupported digital media players.” Apple first blocked the Pre shortly after its July release with iTunes 8.2.1.

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I can see why having the Pre sync with iTunes can be useful and/or a selling point, but I think Palm is just being lazy about it. Either try to work with Apple and make it officially supported (which seems unlikely on Apple’s part given the Pre’s direct “rivalry” with the iPhone) or just provide Pre users with really good software that’ll make them forget about iTunes! I think that this game that they’re playing with Apple will eventually get old and end up hurting Palm’s reputation and their plans for the Pre to really take off, which would be a shame because the Pre is really good on its own.

Posted by gonzalo muñoz on October 5, 2009 at 11:48 AM (CDT)


I agree, PALM needs to sit down and work with APPLe if they want to use the iTunes as platform. Otherwise, PALM is very lazy with their attempt to un-block iTunes for their use. From the proffesional prespective, this really puts a on them bad image on PALM.

My personal opinion, I hope that APPLE has some legal grounds and fight this! ..

from the business perspective, I agree that APPLE don’t want some other 3rd party brand using their apps. ONLY if there is a agreeement where APPLE allows PALM to use iTunes as their platform. this could be from benefits to APPLE…

Howsoever, APPLE is a unique brand and would like to keep their apps only available to their devices. ..

Posted by dennis on October 5, 2009 at 1:12 PM (CDT)


Guess it’s time to grab the popcorn again.

As I understand it, the whole “enforcement” of USB IDs is effectively voluntary. Palm is violating the convention, but it seems that it’s impossible for Apple or anyone actually do anything about it. Apple can keep requesting different IDs and updating product drivers, but nothing is going to stop Palm from just re-spoofing the new ID with their next update. And once it’s re-spoofed, there’s nothing that Apple can do about since Palm owners will just put off updating iTunes until there’s a very good reason (at which point Palm will have re-spoofed IDs again). They both seem more interested in playing the “MINE” “NO! MINE!” “MINE MINE MINE!” “NO NO! MINE!” game than doing anything productive.

Palm could probably hire somebody to write an iTunes plugin that would patch into a simply file syncing application and then Apple wouldn’t have any room to complain. Apple could just realise that these updates are a lot easier and less costly for Palm than they are for Apple and give up. Both these companies need a time out ;-)

Posted by Code Monkey on October 5, 2009 at 1:23 PM (CDT)


Personally I’d like to see Apple release an iTunes update that bricks the Pre. Permanently.

Posted by ScooterD35 on October 5, 2009 at 3:01 PM (CDT)


...Palm is doing this for the publicity value.

Posted by otaku on October 5, 2009 at 4:09 PM (CDT)


Palm is starting to look like a really childish company and their reputation is going down; better prepare your own software, pros.

Posted by iLly on October 5, 2009 at 4:26 PM (CDT)


Which means pretty soon there will be iTunes 9.0.2 or 9.1 that breaks the sync again. Hopefully the next version of iTunes comes sooner rather than later.

Posted by John Stockman on October 5, 2009 at 5:49 PM (CDT)


I had been a supporter of Palm in the past and had high hopes for the Pre, but this continued choice to sync with ITunes is simply awful on many fronts. On one side, Palm has decided to go review absent app distribution, which can become a nightmare from a quaility control and content aspect, and a major exploit in the Palm App Store allowed the downloading of paid apps for free. On the other, by creating a short term media conduit solution, it exposes Pre customers to a competitor’s application experience that is mature and relatively stable but lose out on true compatibility and the use of a huge App library. With Palm unable to support its own store and playing keep-away to keep using Apple’s, its easy for a Pre user or developer to wonder why not use an IPhone? Or, more importantly, why use a Pre?

Posted by Chris from NYC on October 6, 2009 at 12:52 AM (CDT)


@Chris from NYC
Best commentary on this whole shamozzle I’ve ever read.

Posted by Dan Woods on October 6, 2009 at 4:00 AM (CDT)


@John Stockman: what would that accomplish? The Pre owners already have access to all the new features of iTunes 9. Apple can make a new version that breaks Pre syncing, but unless that new version contains critical fixes for an Apple product the Pre owner also owns, they simply will have no reason to upgrade until iTunes 10 comes along.

This is a losing battle for Apple to keep fighting. They’ve got to go through the hoops of getting a new 5G iPod USB identifier code, update their iTunes installer, foot the bandwidth for distributing a new version and Palm just laughs. The Pre owners will be instructed not to update their iTunes so what will Apple have done besides cost themselves money?

Meanwhile, Pre will, at their leisure, re-spoof the new ID and then instruct Pre owners they can upgrade both their Pre firmware and iTunes.

Once there is a working version of iTunes for the latest major revision, Pre is free and clear for the upcoming year, but Apple is forced into a cycle of major distribution costs and frustrating their own customer base (Why did I just need to download and install another 80MB package?) each time Palm re-spoofs the new ID.

Unless Apple can get a legal injunction against Palm, them blocking it is a waste of time.

Posted by Code Monkey on October 6, 2009 at 8:02 AM (CDT)

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