For iPod users on the fence over whether to jump on the iPhone bandwagon or try the new Palm Pre, the iPhone's first multi-touch competitor, they may just have gotten a bit of an incentive to choose the latter. It has been revealed that the Palm Pre will sync perfectly with iTunes, allowing customers with iPods to transfer their music files without hassle or third-party utilities.
The surprise scoop was discovered and confirmed by the many reviewers who received and have been testing early Pre handsets. However, the news actually leaked in January from a Palm employee -- but no one followed up, as it was likely dismissed as a wild rumor.
ITunes treats the Pre just like an iPod or iPhone, except it can't get iPhone apps and it can't use old copy-protected songs (Apple recently dropped copy protection). Previously, users could sync iTunes with smart phones like the Palm Treo and 700p, but only via a third-party application. This time the phone's firmware comes sync-ready.
Palm is full of ex-Apple engineers, including Palm president Jon Rubinstein, who built the original iPod for Steve Jobs so this bit of news is not totally surprising.
The one uncertainty is whether Apple will block Palm's encroachment on its iTunes software. Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook has hinted in the past that Apple may seek legal action against Palm for possible violations of its mobile devices multi-touch patent. Palm, however, has expressed little concern over lawsuits from Apple. It is confident that it will win any such battles, and that Apple will lose in negative publicity as well.