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Apple has killed the Palm Pre's ability to sync with iTunes in cold blood, with its latest software update.

Don't install this iTunes update if you own a Palm Pre -- it will kill the phone's ability to easily sync with your library.  (Source: CNET)
Leave it to Apple to rain on everyone's parade

Apple doesn't take kindly to would-be usurpers to its status of the highest tech (and bestselling) smart phone on the market.  It has threatened to take legal action against those who violate its mobile multi-touch patent that it was awarded.

Now it has taken action to try to kill the potential of the Palm Pre before it gains significant market share.  One of the key features of the Pre was its ability to sync effortlessly with iTunes, via firmware support.  As the majority of MP3 players on the market are iPods and most people have their music libraries on iTunes, this was an attractive feature as it made for a painless import of your music library.

However, Apple will not let the threat to its smart phone empire stand and true to its word has rolled out an iTunes update that kills the feature -- iTunes 8.2.1.  The release notes describe, "iTunes 8.2.1 provides a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices."

Sure enough, the update kills the Palm Pre's iTunes syncing via the Media Sync option.  Unfortunately for Apple, though, the update can't lock out doubleTwist and The Missing Sync, and other applications which offer similar syncing for smart phones.  Palm is actively advertising these apps as work arounds.

Palm stuck by its previous statement when asked for comment, remarking, "Palm's media sync works with iTunes 8.2. If Apple chooses to disable media sync in iTunes, it will be a direct blow to their users who will be deprived of a seamless synchronization experience. However, people will have options. They can stay with the iTunes version that works to sync their music on their Pre, they can transfer the music via USB, and there are other third-party applications we can consider."

A simple way for Pre users to keep the good syncing rolling is to not update iTunes.  Those who installed the update can delete iTunes and find an older version online.

Apple has proved merciless in its enforcement efforts in the past.  From suing Mac cloners out of existence to bricking customers' iPhones who left the AT&T network, Apple has done its best to stick it to those buy its hardware but refuse to do its bidding.  In the MP3 player and online music market, however, where Apple enjoys virtual monopolies, one must wonder how much longer it can practice such anticompetitive tactics before its hit with antitrust fines and regulation as Intel and Microsoft have been.


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By ltcommanderdata on 7/15/2009 8:55:17 PM , Rating: -1
I'm not fully versed on the Microsoft ruling, but I think it has to be taken into account the difference in purpose between iTunes and Windows. iTunes is basically a music organizational tool that is intended to get music onto Apple's iPods/iPhones. Windows is of course an OS, whose purpose is to run applications.

If Apple denies support for third-party devices in iTunes, the underlying music is unaffected. You can still copy and transfer the music. iTune's purpose as a music organizational tool is still in place if you access the data in the XML library file. On OS X, people may even be able to write Applescripts to enable syncing to the Pre within iTunes. Such user created syncing scripts exist for the Sandisk Sansa E200 series to transfer music with playlists intact.

I believe the interpretation of Microsoft's behavior is that they were manipulating Windows to promote their own software, which goes against the OS being a platform for all software. In contrast, I don't believe iTunes was promoted as a music management platform for all music devices. And again, the music itself is unaffected. Besides, with all the complaints against iTune's speed and/or interface, it might be a good thing for competition if Palm writes their own music sync application to bring a new interface that could still use Apple's XML iTunes library file for compatibility to transition existing iTunes users.


By Alexstarfire on 7/15/2009 11:55:18 PM , Rating: 5
And Apple isn't doing this to indirectly promote their own MP3 players? If you think that then you must be delusional. I'm not saying Apple has to actively help Palm, or any other company for that matter, have their product work with iTunes, but preventing it for working, provided it is not violating the EULA, is just wrong no matter how you look at it.

Only real difference between this and what Microsoft did is that one is direct and the other is indirect. Again, provided the EULA is not being violated.


By themaster08 on 7/16/2009 4:58:50 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
iTunes is basically a music organizational tool that is intended to get music onto Apple's iPods/iPhones. Windows is of course an OS, whose purpose is to run applications.

It would be more accurate to compare Media Player with iTunes.

OSX comes with iTunes. What if I have a Palm Pre and a Mac computer? I wouldn't be able to sync my phone with readily available software on the computer. Very convenient.

Also taking into account that iTunes is the music player of choice for many Windows users. Not just those that wish to sync their iPod. Yet another example of the Apple lock-in.

With Windows I would be able to easily via Media Player (if said device is compatible with Media Player sync).

The difference being is that nothing is preventing a company from enabling their device from syncing with Media Player.

It's just simple convenience, but Apple likes to make life difficult for those who do not wish to purchase their hardware.


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