Palm Re-Hacks iTunes Sync, Shows They Care More About Ego and Press Than Pre Users


Palm Pre got webOS 1.1 today and the surprise feature was that it re-hacks iTunes sync, once and for all proving Palm's new management -- in this area -- cares more about thumbing their nose at Apple and strutting in front of the press than they do about Palm and the Pre user base.

Yeah, this will be an editorial of the scathing variety. You've been warned...

Palm got an astounding and impressive number of things right with webOS. The multitasking is great, the notifications sublime, the SDK a stroke of genius, and the Classic emulator smart, smart, smart. Palm's done so much so right, it's flabbergasting that they've handled iTunes sync so boneheadedly wrong.

What's so wrong about it? It doesn't serve the webOS/Palm Pre user. Bottom line, no company should ever base a user experience on something they don't own or license. Regardless of caveats like version numbers, Palm telling Pre users they can sync with iTunes when Palm can't guarantee it will work going forward is irresponsible.

RIM/BlackBerry and Nokia, by contrast, sync with the iTunes XML file which won't break if iTunes updates. Sure, it's not the way an iPod syncs, but then they aren't -- and the Palm Pre isn't -- and iPod.

We've spoken before about user confusion. Stick a Palm Pre into iTunes and it pretends to be an iPod, but it can't sync iTunes movies, can't sync App Store apps. That breaks the user experience (my mother has no idea what DRM is, but she sure knows what "not working" is). And if iTunes is updated and, even if purely by accident, Palm Pre can no longer sync, it shatters the user experience. ("No, see mom, Apple and Palm are like rivals and-- yes, I know you can't get your ABBA to play. Sigh. Again--")

See, we're not talking about pro level users here. This isn't DVD Jon hacking iTunes DRM and experts going in to set up the sync themselves. That's closer to Jailbreak, you roll your own dice and takes your own chances.

We're talking about average users who go in thinking they can sync with iTunes just like an iPod. That's incredibly unfair to them.

So why is Palm doing it? First, it's important to remember current Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein was formerly head of the iPod division at Apple, and brought a lot of iPod and iPhone engineers (and PR people) with him to work on webOS and the Pre. That's reportedly caused some animosity between Palm and Apple. Second, look at all the press it generates for them.

Even putting aside whether Palm, with all that iPod brain trust, could prove reverse-engineering in a clean room, it comes off as looking like they did it to show they could, and to get the required action from Apple to generate buzz and attention.

The original hack was just a USB masquerade and was easy for Apple to stop. This hack, while currently unidentified, is likely deeper and perhaps not as trivial. That makes the first hack look like a sacrificial pawn in a chess gambit, with the second (and third, fourth?) more like Bishops and Queens lined up, ready and waiting.

But Palm isn't playing with game pieces, they're playing with that average user who just wants a reliable sync solution for his or her (or moms!) media. Palm is putting that user behind their own ego -- to show up former big boss Apple -- and attention seeking -- to hook the blogsphere in riveting rounds of cat and mouse posts.

And that's not right. It's not right for Apple, who'll get blamed for Palm's manipulations. It's not right for Palm who is better than this, and has created an otherwise exemplary new platform. It's not right for the engineers on both sides who waste time hacking and patching unlicensed sync rather than working on great new features. And it's absolutely not right for Palm Pre users who deserve that BlackBerry or Nokia quality sync experience, legitimately for their very own.

How about it Palm, how about we re-task those engineers into making a great iTunes Library XML sync for all the users who stuck by the original Palm, through the years in the desert, and into the clouds?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Palm Re-Hacks iTunes Sync, Shows They Care More About Ego and Press Than Pre Users


It's ridiculous to think that the end user is affected by added functionality. The Palm Pre's main connection is via folder mode with Windows. However, Palm, unlike many other companies, chose NOT to neglect the iTunes-using crowd. Palm knows that it must be able to sync with the most popular digital music store if it hopes to displace the iPhone.
I give major kudos to Palm on this one. Especially in their haste with repairing the syncing capabilities.
If anything, this lets you know Steve Jobs thinks of HIS end users. Either you use all Apple products, or you can use none. How Microsoft of them.

I still don't get why you have an issue with this? As a Pre owner and previous iPhone owner, I truly enjoy the full and seamless sync experience of my Pre with my iPhone. Syncing with the XML doesn't really change much except yet another client to use. iTunes works great...your post comes across as a whiny Apple fanboy. Sorry.

How does this show that they don't care about the users?! Apple broke Pre sync, Palm fixed it. I would think that they care about the Pre users but then again I'm not affected by the reality distortion field.

It's dumb that palm is relying on apple, their competitor, for a sync solution. It shows that they are weak and need apple to complete a great product. However their great product was basically the child of what many at apple who left wanted the iPhone to be. It is not original product because so many pieces of it technically came from apple. And iTunes is apples big break through and can do whatever they want it and stop whoever they want, it's theirs...palms owes hay they hve done to apple and will so until they break away

I think the war is on... Personally I really don't care if Pre users want to utilize iTunes. I do think it is wrong for Palm to come out and officially say to use iTunes as a syncing device. I think Palm should just try and come up with something original instead of stealing another company's software. I would like for Apple to have competition in the iTunes software market so come on Palm do something about it....

What a bunch of CRAP!
Look I agree with you: iTunes is Apple's program so it's their prerogative to do whatever the hell they like with it. Break the sync, don't break the sync... I don't use iTunes anyway (it's commercial-based, restrictive, resource-hogging BLOATWARE)...
But DON'T come to me with this self-righteous B.S. ... As another commenter said here, Palm is merely offering OPTIONS to its users. Most of them already know that the folks at Apple are going to be a bunch of BABIES and break the sync, and are prepared for that.
To "reTweet" the last commenter? "Your post comes across as a whiny Apple fanboy. Sorry." BOO-YAH!

I agree with this editorial, in fact, I can relate to this exactly. I had to explain to my Mom who has a Pre why she shouldn't update iTunes on her computer last week. Today, I had to reexplain why it was ok now that I updated her Pre to 1.1. If I wasn't here she would have updated iTunes last week and had no idea why the iTunes sync was broken. Her Pre's have had some severe hardware and build issues (she's on her third in a week and a half) so she would have thought she had another bad Pre. Things like this are hard on "average users". Palm, you owe it to your users to make a music player and syncing software worthy of the incredible phone that you have devised, you're better than this!

To me it's about originality. I have no quarrel with Palm, last last phone was a Treo, anyway they need to come up with a syncing software of their own. Why not make it better than iTunes... Apple can use the competition.

@Jim. Just because it is Apple's software does not mean that Palm, a competitor cannot use it. Windows is by Microsoft, but obviously iTunes is an Apple software. So by what you said, iTunes shouldn't be on a Windows computer because it is competitor software by using Microsoft's Windows. Same concept.
Would you have the same response if Windows Media Player was promised and then Microsoft sent an update that "broke" it. No. You would just expect it to be fixed because thats the way it is. That's the way I see it, they fixed it so that it is now compatible.
But thanks for your warning up top. I'm not upset or anything since you did warn us. I just feel like other people take things from only one point of view sometimes... (You know what I mean?)
And like the other guy said (vara411), I wouldn't use iTunes anyways. =P

I have to say that this has soured my opinion of Palm; they are nothing more than cheats trying to leech off Apple's hard work and investment.
And, I agree, Pre owners are being abused by Palm's approach.
For pulling a stunt like this, Palm deserves to crash and burn.

God Jim shut the fvck up man.
Palm isn't RELYING on anything. This iTunes sync is simply an alternative to drag and drop. Moron.
I love how iPhoners are getting all bent out of shape over something that affects them not one bit! Rene just wrote a damn essay trying to convince us that Palm doesn't care about it's customers! Who gives a fvck?! I have damn 3GS right now and I'm glad that Pre users can do what I do just as effortlessly.
Seriously, I'm rooting for Palm simply because they are our closest competitor and the more they innovate, the more Apple will. Plus I like the underdog.

Who cares? Palm Pre is DOA anyways. What it sold like 100000-200000 so far .... and not to mention the huge percentage of returns. The iphone sold 5.2 million. So there.. .BOOO-YAAAAH!!!
Suck on that .. all you palm fanbois!!!
Apple shoudn't even care ... palm isn't even a blip on the radar.

Rene, get over your Apple arrogance. In "hacking" itunes Palm is attempting to give thier user the best quality product/service they can. They are in line with the reality that itunes is a solid product that many of their users utilize. This to me sounds like they care about Pre owners (of which I am not none of you Apple Zombies out there can attack my potential "conflicts") and their specific needs. Sure, the syncing process isn't perfect and yes there will be times where it will not work because apple decides to release an update to block pre sync. But I'm sure Palm will get around this eventually like RIM and Nokia, etc. With time they will. You know why? Because they have no choice. iTunes isn't going anywhere and neither is the Pre. Not everyone has to own an iphone/pod in order to enjoy their music library. Deal with it.

If the Pre users' experience with itunes sync is bad, they'll give up itunes before they give up the pre, if only because they'd have to pay for a new phone. Apple has more to lose by blocking pre syncing than Palm has to lose by giving Apple something to break.
Pre users can download music direct to the phone from amazon anyway. They don't need to give their business to the itunes store. Apple should be more careful about punishing their (music) customers just for not helping them consolidate their (DAP) monopoly.

I predict that Palm's Queen in this chess match is the syncing software. Bet they're working on it.

Why are you on this website if the pre is so great? I like my iPhone and have never even thought about checking the pre websites. Not even out of curiousity.

its simple! if you spent YOUR time and money to CREATE something, would you want someone using it without your permission? If someone uses a song in a movie without permission from the original artist or record label, couldnt they be sued? Like i said, pretty simple if you ask me.

"We’re talking about average users who go in thinking they can sync with iTunes just like an iPod. That’s incredibly unfair to them."
i don't think you give "average users" enough credit. worst case scenario is that apple successfully breaks the syncing and pre users aren't able to sync their music with itunes anymore. just like with any other phone.
DRM ridden, closed systems like iTunes are going to be targeted to be cracked open by everyone. individual hackers and large companies. if the syncing solution from third parties isn't great, that's apple's problem for not letting their paying customers who pay for music when they could pretty easily pirate it for free merely sync that music with the device of their choice.
saying Palm is hurting customers is ridiculous when it is Apple who won't even let people sync their own legally purchased music with the device of their choosing.

For all the people who are saying that Palm should develop their own media syncing software and stop piggybacking off of Apple's, do 5 seconds of research. Palm DOES have a sync solution outside of iTunes called Music Assistant.
... but that's not really the point, is it? All the Apple fanboys and fangirls say Apple can't go wrong and their stuff is all so amazingly integrated with everything. Palm is simply challenging that thought that the iPhone is the only thing that can do X. Open your eyes, take off the fan-glasses and listen. If Apple really wants to play a game of cat and mouse, it shouldn't be about stealing features from the Pre. It should be about making the iPhone better. They could start by playing in Pre's domain - maybe do some work on multitasking. Competition is a good thing. If no one challenged Apple, what would motivate them to improve their product? Oh, right, they're such a nice company that they'd just do it to be nice. They're in it for the money too, you know.
I may be a Pre user, but I think what Apple is doing is exactly what I've grown to dislike about Apple over the years - closed architecture. "No one but us; we're better than everyone else". Every time Apple slams the door in Palm's face, it just gives Apple negative PR. Palm could care less - they'll just patch it again.

it has nothing to do with apple thinking they are better than anyone. its a matter of ... we spent millions to develope this software. palm spent 0. why should they be able to use it for free?

You are totally wrong IMO.
First of all, you are assuming that users are idiots and that they can't handle change. Yes, it's slightly annoying when Apple breaks it, but it's not really that hard to not upgrade until Palm fixes it, or worst case, to either just leave it on the old version or start using another program. There are a LOT of other options out there and most of us know what they are. Those that can't handle the games can use the other options.
Which brings me to another point. The iTunes sync is just ONE of the dozen or more different ways to sync music. If Apple ever totally breaks it, then my user experience hasn't really been hurt any more than if they didn't have it. I still have to switch to a new application like I would have needed to when the Pre first came out, but instead I am able to continue to use iTunes until that happens.
Also, a correction. Palm isn't "hacking". Get your terminology right. Hacking implies that they are changing code on iTunes, which would be illegal. They have reverse engineered the communication between an iPod and iTunes and are replicating it. That is protected by law and Palm is doing nothing illegal or immoral.
Your tone in your article is very condescending. We really don't need you looking out for us and our best interests. Obviously if you had your way we would be minus one way of syncing our Pre that many of us enjoy. We are big boys. I promise. We are intelligent, mature people who are capable of weighing the risks and benefits of using iTunes and make an informed decision by ourselves.

Oh, and for people like Mystic who say that Palm is sucky because they shouldn't be leeching off of Apple's hard work. Well, you obviously don't understand the industry. I can turn your argument around and say that Apple shouldn't be making iTunes for Windows. They are leeching off of Microsoft's hard work. They should only make iTunes for Mac, and if people want to use iTunes they should switch to a Mac.
Microsoft used to play the same games Apple is. They would hide APIs and try to prevent people from using parts of the OS that they didn't want people using. They would make their own applications run better than competitors because they knew inside secrets, and they would intentionally break competitors programs.
Then they got sued. That kind of changed things for them. You get pissy at Palm because they want to allow someone one more of a dozen options to sync their phone? One that is totally legal? You get pissy because Apple is the ONLY FREAKING COMPANY IN THE WORLD THAT BLOCKS COMPETITORS from using their music software? No one else tries to block competitors like apple. Microsoft's media player can do most of what iTunes can do and they encourage hardware developers to use it to sync music. WinAmp works with almost all hardware. The list goes on and on. You think that just because Apple is monopolistic and tries to be a bully that they are better than everyone else? Bah! Just shows how ignorant you really are of the world around you.

there are tons of phones that can also sync with itunes. Pre is just sort of actual competition and you've got you're panties in a bunch. Not really a big deal anyways. Itunes isn't great software. it's slow resource intensive, slow, limited in functionality, and its slow and resource intensive. But it's a big pissing contest. Besides its' only 8GBs most people will drag and drop that tiny amount anyways and they can do that with anything. it's amazing people are crying over this phone and ignoring the other phones that do work with itunes as though pre is the only phone to do this.

besides is there any doubt apple will just try to break it again? lighten up ipod people.

Why don't they just do their own syncing program instead of hacking iTunes? Just to say "hey we can use your fucking program without permission"? Do they really think they can't to a program better than iTunes? Anyway idk I'm really happy with my iPhone 3GS and that's the only thing that matters to me :)

Interesting points in the editorial, if a bit dramatic. I'm also skeptical when authors insist they know what other people's (ie; Apple) motives are for making a decision... but he qualified the editorial nicely so if I'm annoyed by anything he wrote, then it's my fault for reading it ;-) It does seem a bit dangerous to rely on syncing protocols that are apt to change and actually just a "work around" and then selling the device to people as though the sync feature is "built in" when it's not actually done the way Apple intends third party apps to sync with iTunes. For some of the more tech savvy this won't be an issue, but as noted by others, most people reading these forums are not the average user. So while some angry zealots want to shake their rattle and stomp around in the crib shouting "users aren't stupid, we can figure it out!", I suspect that most users don't want to be forced to "figure it out". I'm a long time PalmOS user that converted to iPhone not long ago and, though I currently intend to stick with iPhone, I find the Pre a very compelling alternative. Both have some excellent strengths and their own limitations. But, without a question of a doubt, getting the most out of my PalmOS experience required far more time/energy/maintenance than my iPhone ever has. Therein lies the difference for me... the iPhone takes some control from the user and provides structured reliability. The PalmOS (and perhaps Pre in some ways, though I haven't used one to comment... though this sync issue is in keeping with the main point) offered more user control but AT YOUR OWN PERIL! While I don't mind resets and spending time/energy fixing things on occasion, a lot of people find it annoying and a serious deterrent to switching phones. While the Pre is not PalmOS, this iTunes sync issue is reminiscent of how things used to be and I appreciate the feedback from people encouraging Palm to find their own unique way rather than kludges and work-arounds that they do not ultimately control or even influence in anyway! I won't try to quote numbers or make up facts, this is just my personal experience. The iTunes syncing with Pre, as currently implemented, seems to fall more in the camp of issues that could frustrate the average user. For that reason alone, it seems like a perilous move. If you're a Pre owner and somewhat tech savvy, it's probably super cool to have this kind of convenience and I hope they are able to enjoy it. Pre looks like a great smartphone and I look forward to seeing what more Palm can do with it!

I work for sprint. Palm is wrong, period. However I also own a imac which I paid close to 2 grand for, technically as the consumer/ end user I should be able to use the software, that came with the computer that I purchased in any way that I want. To this point I feel that apple is wrong. I understand that they couldn't look weak and simply allow a company to use thei software without makeing some sort of statement. However as an apple supporter they would have come out better by aknoledging that certain palm engineers were apart of the ipod/iphone team and publickly stated that they did not approve of the palm synch but they would allow it due to apples (itunes) custoners wiuld have a a similar albeit inferior experience. Btw at&t does not have mare bars that anyone, least of all sprint.

I have to agree with those that say that Palm messed the iTunes Synchronisation up. Of course it would be good to have iTunes Sync, but not by pretending to be an iPod. If they would have talked to Apple, I'm sure they would have found a solution but now it's a real problem for average users (and I talk about real normal users, not people who spend half of the day on the internet, reading if they can update something or not). For example my Parents just update their software when it tells them to, they don't go into forums and look what will change when they do so. If one of them now had a Pre, they would be really confused, why iTunes Sync doesn't work anymore and would have no Idea how to do it from now on.
So again, I have nothing against iTunes Compability, just against doing it behind Apples Back.

"Why don’t they just do their own syncing program instead of hacking iTunes? "
they have. it has been mentioned in the comments here already. iTunes syncing is only ONE of the music syncing options for the Pre. Palm has gone to extra work above and beyond programming their own syncing program in order to let iTunes users sync their legally purchased music with the device of their choosing.

I COULD Not AGREE LESS WITH THIS POST! OMG Apple are the assholes here... If I was palm i d hack apple erase everything and make their systems run ms-dos with no network support

"This hack, while currently unidentified, is likely deeper and perhaps not as trivial. "
Here it is:

  • idVendor 0x0830 Palm, Inc.
  • idVendor 0x05ac Apple, Inc.

Oooooooooooh... that was hard! This is all simply a function of the Linux kernel gadgetfs subsystem. Just give it an ID and it sends it to the host. No biggie.

Really Rene, climb down, have a beer, chill.
People demand interoperability. People build add-ons for all types of software. Plugins for Firefox, extensions for MS Office, and a zillion perreferals for all kinds of computers and OSs.
Apple (cough) borrowed (cough) most of OS-X, and at least 50% of the rest of the software on the iPhone.
Your Fanboy is showing.
But fanboys should be puffing up their chest instead of thomping them. This simply means Apple has arrived. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Palm stold nothing from apple. How can you cheer jailbreaking efforts of the dev team and decry something as simple as one device answering the phone when the other device calls.
It's time for a lot of people to grow up.

While I think the "Mom" defense is a little weak, I also feel that a lot of the negatives on this editorial are missing the point.
Apple has spent a lot of money to make iTunes a reality in form, function and content. Should a rival company simply be allowed to reap the benefits of this work without an agreement of some kind?
I don't think I'm a fanboy, but I do think that this is akin to Michael Bay making a re-make of the Big Lebowski without permission. Then announcing that Ashton Kutcher will be starring as the Dude. It may be somewhat legal, but really it's just wrong.

If Apple didn't want others to use iTunes then they should have locked it down.
Oh wait, this is like the hardware encryption on the 3GS, right?

I say to Apple, for the next upgrade to iTunes: If it detects a Pre trying to sync, wipe the Pre clean. That should get the message across.

IDK. I think many folks here missed what Rene was saying. My interpretation of this article is that there is nothing bothersome nor unfair about Pre users having compatibility with iTunes. What looks reckless for Palm is how they have chosen to make this happen. With a "work around" option, who is responsible for iTunes support? Apple? Palm? If Apple should break the work around in a future update, whether intentional or accidental, what should Pre users think of Palm?Should they be comfortable with a loss of performance? What of the extra effort required to avoid losing functionality?
Who cares if reverse engineering is legal if it doesn't provide reliability? If I owned a Pre, I would think this move to be shady. And, representing the average user for all things technical, I don't interpret this article as insulting my intelligence. It's not a stretch to see someone getting confused over an unexpected loss of functionality.
Apple doesn't win a whole lot of points for being so controlling, but I don't see Palm as any better for this half-*** approach.

I think this is very smart thinking on Palm's part. Creating this Apple vs. Palm issue puts the pre on a level playing field with itunes, which can only be good for Palm.

Why are so many people butt hurt over this.
The pre does not mess with iTunes at all meaning that a user who has the new mp3s download from the store has an easier way to sync.
It allows an option for them. In simple English for the dumb fucks here. That they don't need to change or better said can still give apple revenue and still use a pre. Both companies would win.
Now what is Microsoft said no apple products on windows?? Would you whiney bitches still exist.
The op is a fucking tool.
On wait there woudnt be so many iPhone etc since most people wouldn't buy an overprice under powered pc with an apple logo. Since iTunes can't run on windows.
The sad fucking part is apple is acting childish. Any device should sync with an online store IMO. More revenu for them. Think about a min.
If Nokia blackberry winmo could sync native with iTunes who profits. People don't need to use 10000 different apps copy paste etc. Now we are talking about music for the dumb fucks.
Apple stopes making devices in the 20th century. Currently it's all 3rd party legos.

I don't agree with the author. It's biased comments. Whatever palm is doing it with iTunes it's for the Pre owners. The users are enjoying it

@Matt S
Long response: Palm is free to develop its OWN syncing software which would run on a Mac or PC - nothing wrong with that - JUST LIKE APPLE DID! iTunes was specifically designed for iPod syncing only, and Apple has poured millions and millions of dollars into its development. To say Palm is at liberty to just hack into someone else's software is unbelievably disingenuous.
Palm is cheating, and you know it.

@ mystic
You DO understand that had Palm NOT done it, people would be bitching about the LACK of iTunes capability in the Pre.
You Apple sheep scare me. You guys should be pushing for open software environment that would be benefial to you, the end user. IF you like being slapped with proprietary formats and software, that's cool; I don't. Remember how the first iPods only connected via FireWire cables until USB became so popular that Apple couldn't expand its market share without switching? Fuck that

as a loyal Mac owner ( 3 of them in my house ) and a former iPhone user, i am very happy that Palm has fixed the issue. It says to me that i am important as a customer and they will fix issues when they arise. Another point about the timing (for me any way). My iMac did not request the update for iTunes until just 2 days ago. And my Pre was updated last night. So in theory, my sync was only broken for 2 days.... i did not even notice.

I could see this being an issue if PALM made iTunes the ONLY way to get music on to the phone, but it isn't. Dragging and dropping music into the 'Music' folder on the Pre itself is MUCH easier. Its not like palm is putting 100% of their man hours into trying to sync with iTunes, its probably something they have the extra time and resources for. Thus making it not really a big deal to palm. These people are right saying that apple is a money hungry animal that will go to extra lengths and make things more complicated JUST so you buy their product and use ONLY that. Which I am sure you fan boys really are cool with, and thats fine, to each their own. Palm just wants to take down the big apple. I hope they succeed

Since when did all you Pre losers decide to troll over here? Apple is not the bad guy. Palm should go legit and license third-party software for the sync. Palm is going to get a big bad of hurt put on them by Apple if they continue to be little babies who have to create shady hacks instead of doing legit business.
Rene is right. Palm is acting like a red-headed stepchild. I am not against the Pre syncing with iTunes; just be legit about it because Apple could crush Palm with its pinky finger.

Some people may not be aware of this, but itunes came BEFORE the ipod, and BEFORE the itunes music store. My first recollection of using itunes was in college in 2000 or early 2001 or so. ipod came out sometime afterward. It was only available for the Mac at the time, just like the ipod that came out afterward.

I really can't understand the Pre people's opinions on this. You want BB and Nokia-like iTunes sync, why don't you do what those companies did and work WITH Apple to create a solution. The entire point of the post is that Palm is being adversarial about it and causing headaches for your normal everyday user. Like Phrint said, licence the third-party software like any other legitimate company would.

Ummm... Have any of those on here who defend Palm ever heard of intellectual property laws (copyrights, trademarks, etc)? You're lucky Apple is just breaking the sync. They could sue Palm to the point they go out of business and your stuck with nada. Let Palm/Windows Mobile/Apple hack blackberry messenger or access blackberry enterprise servers and see how Rim acts. Apple did all the work designing the software - whether you like the software or not - and they get to decide who can and can't use it, and there is and should be a fee to a company that wants to do so. It's no different than any TV show, movie, etc. needing to receive permission to play music not in the public domain (meaning it's still protected by copyrights). Why do you think radio stations, TV stations and such pay for BMI/ASCAP blanket licenses? If you were in charge you would just play the music without a license, call anyone who criticizes you a fan boy... of course then you will also get sued by the record label, and possibly the artist. So Palm people should quiet down and count their blessings that Apple is giving the Palm "fanboys"' favorite company some leeway before they seek legal action. They are better than most who would already be in court. There you go Palm "fanboys"

Pre owners went with the Pre because its different with more potential. The vast majority use something else though.
Itunes is the same thing. I'm surprised many Pre users don't want different in this case as well. Palm has a chance to make something "different." Wifi sync? Put some of that Palm signature on it? Team up with amazon? Make that app catalog accessible on a computer?
It's basically the foundation of this webOS device and future ones. I sure wouldn't want that to be a competitor's app. And frankly, i'm surprised Palm isn't interested in the PDA market anymore which has basically evolved into the ipod Touch market (pda/media player/apps).
Bottom line, i was disappointed and continue to be that Palm doesn't innovate here and instead chooses this doomed route.

I love seeing anything that gets the Apple fanbois riled up. It's funny as hell to sit back and watch the blog-xplosion after something like this! :-D Keep up the good work Palm... the sheer entertainment value alone is worth it!

Wow fanboys on both sides :) here is the thing Rene was trying to get at. Why not have engineers make a good desktop solution that's all. They are spending time back and forth when the drm from music in itunes is off anyway there is no advantage other then some using itunes but you could create a nice desktop client with a import feature like itunes. Everybody is arguing back and forth i dont see why both good devices which Rene mentioned

Like the idea of iTunes wiping the Pre if it tries to sync. But really a simple block would be a peek at a random location of memory OS. If it matches, its a iPhone. Also need to mod the store interface to prohibit using older versions of iTunes software.

OK, I'm not a techie, just an average user who wants my phone to work and not be a pain in the a**. I'm moving to the iPhone and NOT staying with Palm because 1) I want minimum fuss with my programs 2) I like iTunes because IT WORKS 3) I DO NOT want everything in a cloud -- I LIKE to sync with my PC 4) I don't know anyone who has purchased a Pre or is even considering it 5) I have never personally spoken to an iPhone user that has said they're are unhappy with it.
I'm sure that most Pre users will disagree with me (or worse), and that's fine. I remained loyal to Palm for over 15 years, but I'm tired of the resets and the loss of usability of programs. I know the iPhone isn't perfect, but it's gotta be better than what I've had.

Hey I can live with the back and forth! it's great that I can sync the music library that I OWN with the device I choose.
I put off updating CrapTunes to the latest version because I wanted to be able to keep syncing my Pre. As soon as 1.1 was release last night and sync had been fixed I updated CrapTunes.
I am in no way an apple hater, I am the former owner of an iPhone 3G which I got on launch day. I think the author is obviously a Apple fanboy and his post is biased. So what if Palm ruffles some feathers over in Cupertino I'm more than happy with my Pre! Good Job Palm!

My friend just explained what I was missing on this whole issue.
It is important because if you own Apple devices and used iTunes in the past and have DRM music, then you can only use it with Apple devices.
If you want to change to a different device (and not pay any more money than for the device) then you don't get your music you paid for (legally).
Palm just allows you to at least get access to the music that you have paid for.
Unless I'm missing something?

Isn't interesting and ironic that the Palm Pre has to "act" like an Apple product (the Ipod) to give its users a better option to access music, video etc. Game over: Apple has a competitor taking the time and effort to continue acting like an Apple product. Whose in the lead and who is following? As Shaq told Kobe: how does my a** taste? Steve Jobs is laughing to the bank. You don't see Apple trying to imitate a Palm product.

For those who were asking why it's selfish and egotistical on Palm's part, it's because that instead of coming up with their own platform, they're hacking Apple's. If they actually cared about their users they would develop their own software instead of essentially stealing functionality from someone else's hard work and I know that most of these people worked on the ipod and it was their work, but it was Apple's capital and iTunes is not open-source. This is just going to complicate non-exclusivity contracts and stifle development.

all you fanboys needs to take a seat, the palm has 3 sync methods. 1 of which for fanboys that love itunes, only thing that itunes has is the store, they can sync with it.
considering its a media outlet, and lets say apple makes way more money off "mp3s" then they do off sales of devices as its been seen. adding a device that can sync native with an app that "RETAILS" mps is a positive for apple
dear fan boys gets your heads out of your arse.
the bottom line and i like what palm is doing is getting rid of clutter of programs to do a task.
if itunes as a retail outlet can also sync with a device it should sync with all.
cant belive 1/2 the people are so blinded and would install 1000000 programs to sync, buy music etc.
hell if we really want to get into it, why is "itunes" which is its own app require quicktime. next garbage program that makes adobe look good.

While I agree that Palm is being a bit cheeky here (and, I think, very deliberately stepping on their former emloyers tail), I also think Apple is being very childish on this one. To me, the issue is akin to wanting to be able to open a file that I created with MS-Word with Oppen Office or WordPerfect - it's my file, I should be the one who decides how I access it. Apple has been bad-mouthing and threatening the Pre since the day it was announced; it's hard to believe they consider it such a threat. And if it really is, maybe the best way to deal with the threat of competition is to innovate some more, improve your own product, rather than issuing "upgrades" to your users that do nothing more than limit their freedom to choose.
@Alvin Esby: uh, actually Apple did "imitate a Palm product" when they brought out the iPhone; it was Palm that pioneered touch-screen smartphones back in 2002.

This will end one of two ways:

  1. Apple will relent.
  2. A lawsuit. Which Apple will lose. They can't tell you what media player to use any more than Microsoft can tell you which browser to use.

I don't see Palm giving up, and I don't see Apple being able to block it to such a degree that Palm can't keep up.
A freer marketplace is only a good thing for the consumers.

Apple hasn't blocked anyone from access to their iTunes library. All they have done is stopped the Pre from accessing their proprietary interface. the iTunes library is an xml file that can be accessed and used by any third party that chooses to develop an application to access it, no encryption or anything else. Why is it so wrong that Palm be made to spend development dollars to do just that. It's win-win for Palm. One they have a program they control with their branding on it and two they can always confirm that it will work for their users. Right now the majority seems to be backing the idea that Palm should have to invest 0 dollars in creating a desktop application for the Pre. Shouldn't users want, even expect that is they pay money for a device that their ability to sync their music not hinge on whether a competitor upgrades the software they are using to sync it with. If I were a Pre owner I would be looking awfully hard at Palm and asking what's up?

@Sam Your point number two is kind of invalid. If this were to result in a lawsuit Apple could prolong a trial long enough to put Palm (already admittedly in a weak financial position) in a pretty precarious position, if not bankrupting them completely. Either way, not a risk to be taken lightly.

it's hilarious and ballsy, but I still think they should develop their own software and add more apps, I've looked at their app catalog and theres seriously like 50 apps.

"i don’t think you give “average users” enough credit. worst case scenario is that apple successfully breaks the syncing and pre users aren’t able to sync their music with itunes anymore. just like with any other phone.
DRM ridden, closed systems like iTunes are going to be targeted to be cracked open by everyone. individual hackers and large companies. if the syncing solution from third parties isn’t great, that’s apple’s problem for not letting their paying customers who pay for music when they could pretty easily pirate it for free merely sync that music with the device of their choice.
saying Palm is hurting customers is ridiculous when it is Apple who won’t even let people sync their own legally purchased music with the device of their choosing."
Not giving the "average user" credit. I take it you don't work IT. Trust me, the average user is incapable of some of the simplest tasks. Oh you are talking about the average Palm user, well it ain't 1990 anymore. Look around at the people with smart phones today. These are soccer moms, not business professionals.
On on hand you have Palm supporters saying iTunes is just an option, Drag and Drop is "primary" sync. Then you complain that Apple is DRM infested and closed. Nope, go browse to the directory and copy your DRM-Free music to your Pre.
On the other hand you say Apple should let third parties sync. They do. It's an open XML interface to the iTunes library. Palm didn't want to use that, they wanted to emulate an iPod. Never mind Apple pushes firmware updates to iPods via iTunes. Now you have this device claiming it is an iPod when it is not. Apple now runs the risk of bricking Pre's because they have no control over the device and do not know how it will respond to commands that work on an iPod. But Apple is the company being unreasonable here. Yeah right.
Finally, you now have two parties. When the Pre fails to synch with iTunes is the average user going to call Palm support or Apple support? If you are lucky you get a 70/30 split. So now Apple is stuck fielding support calls for a competitors product. Yes the call is, "You need to call Palm, bye." but that still takes time and costs Apple money.
Palm is clearly in the wrong here.

As an iPhone user I hate fanboys. The user experience is great but look under the glamour and you find a phone that is 4 years old. The fan boys whoop with delight at wwdc because apple bring out mms.. Sad sad get a life you fanboys.

"Not giving the “average user” credit. I take it you don’t work IT. Trust me, the average user is incapable of some of the simplest tasks. Oh you are talking about the average Palm user, well it ain’t 1990 anymore. Look around at the people with smart phones today. These are soccer moms, not business professionals."
yeah and their OS will update for them, automatically, over the air, and the problem will solve itself.
not all pre users are going to be using the iTunes sync anyway. for those who choose it, Palm is offering the easiest and most transparent possible upgrade path. this is good for pre users.
"Now you have this device claiming it is an iPod when it is not."
just like how apple computers claim to be windows computers when joining a windows network? a device claiming to be something it is not is hardly unheard of.
"Apple now runs the risk of bricking Pre’s because they have no control over the device and do not know how it will respond to commands that work on an iPod."
oh please. it is up to Palm to make sure the interaction with iTunes won't brick the device, and i imagine they have safeguards in place. if not then it isn't Apple's problem.
"When the Pre fails to synch with iTunes is the average user going to call Palm support or Apple support?"
you call Palm, troubleshoot until you figure out where the problem lies and then you call Apple if you absolutely have to. it isn't that tough. remember that iTunes customers are Apple customers too, and that it is in Apple's interests to support them and keep them as loyal iTunes users instead of buying their music on amazon or something.
"Palm is clearly in the wrong here."
they are no such thing. there is a very long history of moves like this advancing computing into the future. compaq cloning the IBM PC, or people building modems to work over telephone lines [which AT&T initially forbade, using many of the arguments you are making]. hacks and spoofs are not solely the domain of the jailbreakers of the world. larger companies, if they can execute them in a safe and user friendly way, have historically advanced personal computing through the considered use of such shenanigans - including Apple.

considering its a media outlet, and lets say apple makes way more money off “mp3s” then they do off sales of devices as its been seen. adding a device that can sync native with an app that “RETAILS” mps is a positive for apple
You are WRONG.
I don't know where the hell you heard that but Apple doesn't make nearly as much money off iTunes as they do on the hardware (iPod). It has been reported OVER and OVER that they don't make very much at all off the iTunes music store.
iTunes drives the sale of their hardware, just like OS X drives the sale of their hardware.
iTunes and OS X sell laptops, desktops, iPods and iPhones NOT the other way around.
Apple is a hardware manufacturer primarily, not a software company like Microsoft. Everyone comparing Apple's "monopolistic practices" to Microsoft doesn't understand the difference between the companies.
Again, Apple is primarily a hardware manufacturer. The software that their hardware uses (OS X, iTunes) is meant to better the user experience of THEIR hardware.

oops didn't put quote marks around
"considering its a media outlet, and lets say apple makes way more money off “mp3s” then they do off sales of devices as its been seen. adding a device that can sync native with an app that “RETAILS” mps is a positive for apple"
I didn't say that. Bugs did. moron.

If you actually look at the numbers, the profits on music from the iTunes Store are minimal if not non-existent (note: I'm talking about only music). However, the iTunes music store facilitates the sale of iPods, which is why Apple has been so successful overall.
Considering this, Apple has zero incentive to support non-Apple products, not simply because it is a direct iPhone competitor, but because it undercuts the purpose of the iTunes music store (the Palm Pre doesn't sell iPods).
I also find it quite ironic that Palm is effectively breaching Apple's intellectual property rights on a music store that has been consistently crippled by software specifically designed to protect the intellectual property rights of the record labels.

bottom line - the itunes store doesn't put them in the red or keep them even (either would be horrid business decisions). It makes them a profit. The size of that profit is irrelevant. The end game is that Apples proprietary treatment of syncing features in iTunes only drives potential customers of their iTunes store away to other sources that offer more convenience. End result? Apple will lose money due to a bad business move. Not from fan boys or haters. The swing crowd like me that could give a shit about the politics and just want ease of use out of various products and services I consume.

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