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10/30/2009
09:40 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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iTunes 9.0.2 Breaks Palm Pre Sync Again

The cat-and-mouse game between Apple and Palm continues. Apple offered up iTunes 9.0.2 yesterday. The main reason for the update was to bring new compatibility with Apple TV 3.0 software. Apple was sure to take the time to nix the Palm Pre's ability to sync with iTunes, too.

The cat-and-mouse game between Apple and Palm continues. Apple offered up iTunes 9.0.2 yesterday. The main reason for the update was to bring new compatibility with Apple TV 3.0 software. Apple was sure to take the time to nix the Palm Pre's ability to sync with iTunes, too.By my count, this is the third time that Apple has broken the Pre's ability to sync with its iTunes software. Will Palm make another change to the Pre software to re-enable?

When the Pre first launched, Palm happily talked up the device's ability to sync seamlessly with iTunes. This makes for easier transferring of music and other media to the device. Palm was able to accomplish this by using some USB port trickery to fool iTunes into thinking it was connected to an iPod, not a third-party device.

Once Apple figured out what was going on, it issued an update to iTunes that killed the Pre's ability to sync with iTunes. Palm updated the Pre's software and re-enabled it, and Apple update its software to kill it once again.

At that point Palm took its case to the USB Implementers Forum, claiming that Apple was abusing its use of the USB port. The USB-IF disagreed, and actually prohibited Palm from using the USB-based hack again. Palm did anyway. Just a few weeks ago, it updated the Pre's software to re-enable syncing with iTunes. Apple responded yesterday with iTunes 9.0.2.

How long will this go on? Will Palm respond with another update? Will the USB-IF step in? The real losers here are the end-users, who have to deal with constantly changing abilities of their device. At this point, it's ridiculous. Apple and Palm need to come to terms and stop the back-and-forth game.

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