Palm Hacks Again: webOS Update Re-enables iTunes Syncing


With the release of webOS 1.1, Palm Pre users cut off from iTunes 8.2.1 are connected again, at least until iTunes 8.2.2 shows up in Software Update.

For today, however, Palm can talk some trash. Or at least John Traynor, VP of Business Products for Palm, can and does on the company’s blog.

Oh, and one more thing: Palm webOS 1.1 re-enables Palm media sync. That’s right — you once again can have seamless access to your music, photos and videos from the current version of iTunes (8.2.1).

You have to love the “one more thing” bit, if not the battle between Apple and Palm over iTunes. A war which no one is winning, though ironically the biggest losers arguably are Pre users.

To recap, the Palm Pre was released on June 6 with “Media Sync” built into the OS for synchronizing with iTunes. On June 16, Apple published a knowledgebase article warning that newer versions of iTunes “may no longer provide syncing functionality with non-Apple digital media players.” That newer version, iTunes 8.2.1, was released on July 15, breaking Pre compatibility with iTunes. Pre users wondering why webOS 1.1 was taking so long to come out probably got their answer today, as Palm was likely waiting for Apple to break the hack so the Palm could patch it, and make no mistake, a hack it is. The Pre fools iTunes by using Apple’s USB vendor ID, identifying itself as an iPod. Whether or not that’s illegal, it’s certainly not fair.

It’s not fair to Pre users.

Palm advertises iTunes syncing as a feature of webOS, and when that feature suddenly stops working, they are at a loss until Palm issues a new hack. Sure, Palm blames Apple, but what does that do for Pre users who just want to listen to their music? Pre users are looking at a future in which their Pre won’t work half the time with iTunes. If Palm doesn’t have the resources to create its own media software, it should point users towards doubleTwist or Missing Sync for Pre. If Palm can’t do right by its customers, perhaps looking at it from a financial perspective would make sense. A hyperlink on a web page costs even less in development time than a miserable hack.

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