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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 9:22:38 PM , Rating: 4
http://nanocr.eu/2009/06/04/palm-pre-usb-hack-conf...

You can see the code for Palm's hack for yourself. This was found by Jon Lech Johansen who is famous for defeating the CSS encryption in DVDs. When the Palm Pre is in MediaSync mode it is clearly using the "iPod" Product ID and is reporting itself with the "Apple" Vendor ID.

http://www.usb.org/developers/vendor/VID_Only_Form...

The application form for USB vendor IDs clearly states that vendor and product IDs are assigned to one company for it's sole and exclusive use. Vendor IDs cost $2000. Duplicating vendor and product IDs is only supposed to happen with written approval from the USB Implementers Forum. I'd be curiously to see if the Pre using Apple's vendor and product ID contradicts "sole and exclusive use" and whether Palm had written permission from the USB IF. I wonder what type of disciplinary actions the USB-IF has?

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1660

And the use of the iTunes XML library file to allow third-party applications access to music file information and iTunes playlists is clearly described by Apple. Apple clearly state that they eat their own dog-food and their own applications like the iLife suite use the XML method to access iTunes information. If anything Apple is being malicious to themselves by not allowing their own applications to directly interface with iTunes.


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