Palm Pre vs. iTunes: It’s Checkmate, or Should Be

By  |  Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 8:43 am

Pre Disguised as iPhoneWhen Steve Jobs was detailing the wonders of iTunes 9 at yesterday’s Apple music event, there was a One More Thing he didn’t mention: The new version of the software once again blocks Palm’s Pre from making like an iPod and syncing music and video directly with iTunes. This is the second time that an iTunes update has foiled the Pre. (Palm responded to the first attempt by using a workaround to regain access to iTunes.) And even if Palm has another kludge up its sleeve, it should bring this saga to an end.

I say that with regret, because I was rooting for Palm: iTunes sync is a nifty feature, and I wish that Apple looked at non-Apple phones syncing with iTunes not as an intrusion, but as an opportunity to sell more music. (If it did, it might actively court other phone manufacturers such as Palm.) But we now know that Apple won’t even take a laissez-faire approach here–it’ll boot the Pre out again and again.

Which means that it’s silly for Palm to promote the Pre’s Media Sync feature as it stands as a reason to buy the phone–even in a best-case scenario, the feature is doomed to an unhappy, tentative future.

The solution seems simple to me: Rather than hacking iTunes to provide direct syncing, Palm should use a bit of PC/OS X middleware to do the job. Lots of products do this without controversy, and Palm can probably license the technology if it needs to. In theory, it’s not as elegant a solution as direct syncing, but it works. And there’s absolutely nothing elegant about the cat-and-mouse game that Media Sync has been playing with Apple to date.


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. sfmitch Says:

    Good for Apple!

    I hope Palm decides to create a real music sync’ing solution for the Pre instead of some half-assed hack job. Palm should realize that how poorly this reflects on them, i.e. their ability to offer reliable, elegant solutions.

  2. Evan Says:

    Is this really game over? I don’t know that Apple can just willy-nilly keep releasing updates without annoying users (just as Palm must worry about annoying its users with updates to enable syncing). With the goodwill that Apple has squandered lately, it also has to worry about public perception.

  3. ben Says:

    Mac users do not get annoyed by updates as much as others, they are usually simple and seamless.

  4. Daniel Says:

    Why does Palm insist with lying to it’s users? ITunes is for Apple use period. If Palm want to sync the media that is collected by iTunes then do what others have done, and write a program to get the content. In this way users can continue to purchase their media content from iTunes while using palm software to sync it with their device.

    Was there a backlash by against Palm when they refused to write sync software for the Mac platform back a couple a years ago? No, Apple just wrote it up themselves and mantained it. Come on Palm, step up and have your own software to do it’s syncing.

    Lastly, stop with the marketshare increase to iTunes argument. There are many reason why this is false, but the primary reason is that iTunes is used as an incentive to sell Apple hardware.

  5. iRob U Not Says:

    Correction, Palm do not “hack” iTunes for their phone to sync – they revise the phones f/ware.

  6. Finn Jack Says:

    Apple looks at non-Apple phones syncing with iTunes not as an intrusion, but as an opportunity to sell more music.
    Of course Apple is always very good in making great business. Sure Palm should catchup this syncing indirectly. It will be a good competition.

  7. Amy Says:

    I wish these two would work it out…I AM SICK OF THIS…I use itunes for all my music, i buy all my music ect from itunes, & all this blocking with the Pre (which I have too) makes my life more complicated tahn it should…example this morning I found a song I have been wanting on itunes acct, my itunes auto updates, installs ect.. I buy the song..& now it wont let me media sync & now I have to use doubletwist to put this ONE song without artwork on my Pre..they failed to mention the update would on itunes would block my pre AGAIN..I agree with Fin Jack in that Apple should look at the “Media Sync” with the Pre as an advantage not an intrusion…I have an ipod & have to use the itunes softwear & I dispise the fact that I have to use another program to sync my people get it together, & please play nice, the only people who suffer from this spat yall keep having is the us (the consumer)

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