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Confirmed-ish: Palm Pre Still Syncs with iTunes 8.2!

Palm faithful rejoice, Gizmodo -- via an unnamed source -- claims that Palm Pre still syncs with iTunes 8.2 release, same as it reportedly did with the pre-release version.

Meanwhile, Daring Fireball weighs in on the situation again, this time wondering if what Palm is doing is illegal, and if Apple stops it, whether that would be illegal. PreCentral.net, for their part, looks beyond the what to the why:

we're increasingly getting the feeling that Palm is either trying to goad Apple into a legal showdown or they are so confident in their patent portfolio that they feel they can throw these features in Apple's face.

To which Gruber aptly footnotes:

And, when judging the likelihood of Apple filing such a lawsuit, consider the perspective of a certain highly-competitive quasi-paranoid Apple founder and CEO who is famously sensitive to what he perceives as being “ripped off”. The one and only company to ship a product that successfully masquerades as an iPod via USB is the company whose engineering division is run by a former Apple senior VP and has hired a slew of former Apple engineers.

In -- as they say -- deed.

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

25 Comments
  • Apple should go after palm, legally. What if the iPhone/iPod pretended to be a Zune, so iPhone/iPod users could use a Zune Pass? Microsoft would throw a fit.
  • I sense a some crazy comments are coming...
  • It's going to get interesting that is for sure. Unless Palm had a deal with Apple for iTunes connectivity then I don't see how it would be illegal for Apple to alter the software to stop that. Apple can change the code to their software however they want and if that breaks syncing with the Pre and they didn't agree to syncing capabilities beforehand, how could that be illegal? On a side note, a friend of mine bought his touchstone charging dock for the Pre (they are selling accessories early at some Sprint stores) which comes with a new battery door that connects with touchstone. I can't get over how cheap the materials look. I was afraid that battery door was going to break apart in my hand! Thank goodness for scratch resistant glass (although my iPhone has had to go in due to cracks in the backing). Good luck to Pre owners getting Sprint and Palm to have as simple of a trade-in program as Apple does, that is one place that Apple really, really shines.
  • It's kind of shady that Palm would even push for this connectivity. It only looks like they don't want to put effort into having their own "iTunes" for their customers. Nevertheless, it may not be a bad thing for Apple to let them in...more business for Apple.
    But, it Apple wants to fight this, their best bet is by modifying the software, as long as there is no prior arrangement with Palm for syncing, as Al has said.
    DO you really see Apple wanting to fight this? Is it worth their time? If the Pre syncs, it doesn't exactly make iTunes/Apple look bad. What are the real risks to Apple with Palm having this liberty?
  • I personally think Apple has licensed the iTunes compatiblity to Palm. The Pre is going to suck as a media player anyway, it's only claim-to-fame is it's ability to multitask "webapps".
  • You guys are idiots as is everyone else on every stupid blog talking about the same problem. I work in software so maybe I am privvy to a certain type of thought and logic.
    Ultimately, if I were Rubenstein, I would be duplicating the type of code that a certain type of iPod would use to acheive the sync. In the end, disabling any sort of "Pre" sync will be futile because the risk is far to great that Apple consumers will be affected by the "Fix". And honestly, the annoucement about the Pre syncing happened what, 4 days ago? Do you honestly think a development team could have a fix ready that promptly? I think not, to believe so would be ludicris....honestly, this type of stuff doesn't get figured out, fixed and approved with QA in 4 days-- it's unheard of.
    Anyway, all you apple fan bois who post endlessly about Pre and how it should fail--- you guys are brain washed apple slaves who have been completely mezmorized by apples advertising... go read 1984 and regain some sanity.
    You should be happy another competitor has risen that can motivate apple to innovate further.
  • Hey guys, no need to hate on the Pre. I love my iPhone more than my girlfriend but than doesn't necessarily mean I want Palm to fail with the Pre. Quite the contrary, I hope WebOS excels and offers us some good competition to keep Apple on their feet.
    Shiiet, I'd probably get one if it were on AT&T and had a glass screen instead of plastic. I'm more excited about WebOS than anything else.
  • "Apple should sue Palm", "how dare Palm trick iTunes", "this a low blow."
    I've seen them all, I am literally embarrassed for some of Apple fanatics, give it up already. Back in Jan/Feb, a lot of you were saying, "the Pre is vaporware, it's not real", "Palm copied Apples multi-touch patent, Palm will be sued, the Pre will not see the light of day."
    The Pre is here, it will launch in a few days.
  • pointless battle, if you can careless like me go to nokia, they make the best phones and will eventually be able to hold its own in the third party app world, which by the way is the only drivin force of the iphone (added by Mobile using Mippin)
  • I was over on crunchgear reading an article that was discussing the Pre's ability to sync with iTunes. Poster Pandaman made this comment:
    "Wrong. The Pre will definitely have I-Tunes syncing. Apple infringes on SO MANY of Palm’s patents that Apple cannot risk having Palm sue them for infringement. Take Palm patent #7,268,775, entitled “Dynamic brightness range for portable computer displays based on ambient conditions,” for example — it covers automatically adjusting display brightness using an ambient light sensor while leaving a user-selected brightness setting alone. Yep, that’s exactly how the iPhone does it: Or how about #7,007,239, “Method and apparatus for accessing a contacts database and telephone services”? Claim 10 is an almost exact description of the iPhone’s phone app — buttons for dialing, call history, contacts, and speed dial that stay on-screen as you toggle between them.
    Apple has no choice but to let Palm do what they want or they might be forced to remove many features from their precious I-phone."
    I did not even consider this could be a possibility, Apple may be sitting on their hands because they're afraid to spit in the wind.
  • @Shaun:
    Ultimately, if I were Rubenstein, I would be duplicating the type of code that a certain type of iPod would use to acheive the sync. In the end, disabling any sort of “Pre” sync will be futile because the risk is far to great that Apple consumers will be affected by the “Fix”.
    Exactly.
    There is no prohibition against emulating voltage patterns down a wire. If there were, there would be no such thing as device interoperability at any level.
    This is the same argument that Bell lost when they tried to force you to buy Telephones (land line) from them, and only them. This is settled law since the 60s.
    If the Pre wants to emulate an iPod on the USB wire, there is nothing to stop them.
    If Apple chose to encrypt what travels on the wire, then Palm would have a bigger problem, because the DMCA makes it illegal to try to circumvent such protection.
    However, since NOBODY encrypts USB traffic, such an act might be seen as illegal restraint of trade.
    Apple makes money selling music. The Labels will not allow them to pick and choose their customers.
    My bet is the Pre appears as a normal USB drive, and you don't need iTunes at all. Most users would simply purchase thru iTunes and copy the music over.
    I can't think of a single other phone or mp3 player that requires a SPECIFIC computer-side software. They all appear as USB drives. Only Apple seeks to control what you put on the phone you thought was yours.
  • I have to say that I have never been a palm user. But look at the keyboard they are so small that it looks like a pain to type on them. That what has stop me from buying a palm device. They look great but I can never get use to those little keyboard(and I don't have big hands either). I would choose the blackberry bold or any blackberry than a palm device. But let's see what happens when the pre comes out hope the palm user likes it.I'am wishing good luck to the pre.
  • @ jeremy aka bad ash I believe you are right about the crazy comments. Bottom line apple patent infringes on palm, palm petent infringes on apple. The two have some kind of patent cold war going on and if either one jumps both companies' flagship devices fall. Neither is willing to take the plunge.
  • There seems to be more value in allowing access to iTunes for providers & consumers.
    This could be a victory for iTunes to allow other vendors to access the largest app store.
    The bigger picture is how many more iPhones can be sold.
    The shakeout is clearly an OS between iPhone and BB.
    The Pre simply supports the iPhone OS, and many others may follow by licencing from Pre or iPhone.
    Other vendors are not considering BB licencing therefore enhancing the dominance of the iPhone experience.
    This is déjà vu again for apple.
  • Let me get this straight - Palm, a company that was so broke that it had to take $650 Million from Elevation Partners in order to save the company simply let Apple infringe on it's Intellectual Property for over 2 years and millions of violations and did nothing? And they did this so that they could build a product that infringes on Apple's patents and keep Apple from filing suit on Palm.
    Sounds a little far fetched to me. Even if you take out the second thought it's still far fetched that Palm would not sue Apple even after the Elevation investment. Only the US Fed prints more money than Apple. If the case would have been that much of a slam dunk Palm would have done it already not play cat and mouse with Apple. Apple has far more resources and could sustain a prolonged legal battle than Palm can. Palm has existential problems even if the Pre is a hit, Apple doesn't. So these patent hypothesis are not all that credible when you consider all of the facts.
  • Apple needs to think about this for a minute. A lot of people like iTunes, if other devices can connect and sync then maybe more people will buy from iTunes?
  • The value of a patent is worth squat until it is litigated. So palm holds patents worth about 2000 dollars (the value of a patent grows each time it is litigated), and both of these companies are sitting on serious cash cows in a time where cash is tight. You can bet they won't sue each other. Some social justice judge will make a filling that this is petty inbred fighting and both compnies will loose. Think about this apple looses this fight and microsoft swoops in and tries to buy apple's ip rights.
  • @The Reptile
    Unlike trademarks, there is no need to file patent claim immediately. Companies often wait until they have maximum leverage to file (see NTP vs RIM), or hold it in reserve so they can use it to force some cross-licensing of their own products. Suing earlier instead of taking investor cash would have wasted that bullet, leaving Palm with a possibility of settlement money and only the dead end Treo/Centro line while they spent scarce money on lawsuits instead of R&D. It seems a reasonable gamble for Palm instead to take sure investor cash to fund something new, and to hold any patents in reserve to aid launching a product they hope will save the company.
  • @Rocky:
    The Pre simply supports the iPhone OS, and many others may follow by licencing from Pre or iPhone.
    That is overstating the case.
    Does my USB Logitech mouse "Support Windows Vista" just because it works with Vista, and 15flavors of Linux and FreeBSD and MAC OS X? Thats a lot of support for a little mouse.
    The Pre just pretends to be a iPod. That's far far cry from "supporting the iPhone OS".
  • @ Shaun
    I don't think you have read 1984 and if you have I am certain you didn't understand it.
  • @ Shaun
    I concur! Why are Apple users such supremacists? Or is separatists the right label? "Only Apple products should be able to sync with iTunes!" That kind of thinking is why Macs are so far behind PCs!
  • @Matt
    Matt, are you confused? Go pick up a copy of 1984 and try to make your feable mind understand the parallels painted in my post.
    If you still aren't satisfied, then go pick up a copy of a Brave New World and see if you can get it then. Otherwise I am sorry to say you are lost and you can keep taking your SOMA until you die in your obliviousness.
  • @Daniel
    I think the words you are looking for are Stubborn, Oblivious Elitists.
    Basically they think they know everything and lie to themselves until they believe the garbage Apple tells them to.
    @Matt I am pretty sure what I just typed above is VERABTIM 1984 Doublethink. Go look it up idiot.
  • Wish you could correct posts, my dyslexia got the best of me.
    VERABTIM = VERBATIM.
  • thanks for the content. I don't know why I hate palmPre