back to article Palm restores Pré iTunes synchronisation

Pré owners can once more synchronise the phone with iTunes, following the release of a software update for the Palm smartphone. When Apple recently released iTunes version 8.2.1, the company said that the update “disables devices falsely pretending to be iPods, including the Palm Pré”. But Palm’s since gone one-up on Apple …


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  1. Dana W

    Innovation through theft.

    In other words, Palm is too lazy to write support for their fake iPhone when it is so much easier to simply steal iTunes and point their users at it.

    IF the Pre is suppoed to be the next "iPhone KIller" how about PALM write the music store and support for it?

    Just like Microsoft, rip off Apple, then call it innovation.

  2. Sampler

    Take aim at foot, pull trigger

    Why would Apple want to prevent the Pre in particular from being able to sync with iTunes?

    If people are stupid enough to buy an iPhone they will have already so why deprive themselves of customers who bought a Pre and want to buy songs and vids on iTunes?

    Way to put off a potential revenue stream.

    Of course if MS did this with Zune marketplace (or whatever they have for it) we'd hear no end of anti-trust arguments - why is it Apple can continue to get away with it?

  3. Gareth 18

    @Dana W

    Palm are not stupid. They know the iTunes user base is emense. I use iTunes, I used it well before I got an iPhone and no doubt I will continue to use it if I ever get rid of it. Its just a nice music store that works for me. The ability to subscribe to all my podcasts through it is a dream.

    If the Pre offers me what I want from a phone, and does it better then the iPhone, letting me continue to use iTunes without having to resort to another 3rd party application is just the icing on the cake really.

    I think Apple are being a bit stupid really. Its not like anything they sell is DRM'd anymore, and it might tempt people who don't own an iPod/iPhone to buy music from them, increasing their revenue stream.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do you have to have an IQ below 50 to be an apple fanboi, Dana?

    Palm aren't using iTunes - their customers are. Any Pre customer who isn't using iTunes won't be forced to, but any Pre customer who is using iTunes won't be forced to use something else.

    Were you this dumb before you drank the koolaid?

  5. Sean Timarco Baggaley


    "Why would Apple want to prevent the Pre in particular from being able to sync with iTunes?"

    Because if anything goes wrong, it's Apple the Pre owner would be phoning or emailing for customer support. Customer support costs money. (Oh yeah: their iTunes Store is a loss-leader, not a profit centre. It's a bullet-point on the iPhone and iPod's packaging—an effect of their design philosophy. The Pre doesn't *COSTS* Apple money.)

    And why the hell should Apple be forced into spending *their* money training their call-centre drones on Pre-related sync issues—"Waaah! Why won't my Pre play my DRM-wrapped movies and songs?"—when it's Palm's damned problem? This is the same problem raised by the Psystar Mac clones: they're making the money from sales, but they're palming (sorry!) off support to Apple, who takes that financial hit.

    Apple isn't a software company; it's a hardware / appliance company and design boutique. Stop whining when they don't cater to your, very specific, whims and wishes. You're more than free to build your own software.

    And no, I don't own an iPhone.

  6. James O'Brien

    @Dana W

    Why is it that those who utterly adore Apple always claim that anyone who tries to make something that works with the predominate (and dont tell me its not) music app, always claim the company who did it its ripping them off and start frothing at the mouth?

    Personally it was Apple who specifically started this. No reason why other devices should be blocked form using something just so a company (Apple) can continue their monopoly (and don't tell me its not).

    As for the Pre being the next "iPhone Killer" I will say that it wasn't Palm that gave it that title. Its the news media. So why not pull your pretentious head out of the sand and open your eyes to the world around seeing that it isn't just Apple out there?

  7. MattyB


    "Of course if MS did this with Zune marketplace (or whatever they have for it) we'd hear no end of anti-trust arguments - why is it Apple can continue to get away with it?"

    PURELY playing devils advocate, but both stores offer DRM free music downloads. The argument that iTunes only allows synchronisation with approved devices does hold some water in my book, but it's always been just a tool for synching music with an iPod. Unfortunately it's now grown into something much much more so people are quick to argue that it's an anti-trust violation as it doesn't allow synchronisation with 3rd party devices. To be honest the reason is probably also to do with Apple not wanting 3rd party devices messing up iTunes libraries, as well as protecting their market with the iPod.

    Lets face it, the iPod has basically saved Apple's neck and seen use of Mac's in the home increase alot over the past 5 years or so, Apple aren't going to want to give that up. I wouldn't either in there position TBH, but that doesn't make it a valid reason, perhaps it should be seen in an EU court, much like the IE / WMP/ Windows issues.

  8. Robert E A Harvey

    For Glod's sake

    For Glod's sake, palm, pay the licence fee. Stop behaving like a teenage hacker.

    Oh, and let me buy the phone without a contract, you morons.

  9. Dana W

    @James O'Brien

    I run Linux OSX AND XP. I'm quite aware its not just Mac out there.

  10. Francis Vaughan

    @Take aim at foot, pull trigger

    "why is it Apple can continue to get away with it?"

    Because Apple are not abusing a monopolstic position in the market. Simple as that. MS have almost no market presence with media players at all, so are hardly abusing anyrhing.

    People seem to have begun to have a very strange idea of what abuse of power is after the anti-trust actions against MS. Apple have a dominant position in personal players. They do not monopolise the market. There is a huge difference. Apple wrote the iTunes software, at their cost. The only reason it exists on the Windows platform is to allow Apple to sell iPods to PC owners. Those with even a short memory will remember that the iPod was, in its early days, something of a flop. It was not until Apple ported iTunes to the PC that the iPod took off. There is no reason at all that Apple should be required to allow other companies to leech on their work. Other media player manufactures go out and write their own managment software. The only problem is that this software is universaly rubbish. But that is hardly Apple's fault. So along comes Palm, who decide that, rather than write their own software, like everyone else, they will save time and money by using Apple's software.

    You might regard the purchase of an iPod as the implict license fee to use iTunes. And up until now, the proof of purchase has been the physical presense of an iPod. Rather like a dongle used to allow some software suites to run. Now the legality isn't this - but practice certainly has been.

    iTunes is well written and easy to use, and accounts for significant part of the reason why the iPod became a success. Indeed if it were as rubbish as most of the competion's managment software the iPod would probably be dead by now. People bought the iPod because it was easy and intuitive to use. iTunes was, and is, a huge part of this. So again, why should Palm, or any other manaufacturer be allowed to simpy leech off this work?

    The only reason Apple might turn a blind eye is the iTunes store. By trying to sneak the Pré into iTunes Palm are implicitly giving up any idea of building their own on-line music store. Which is probably smart given how difficult it is to get the rights holders to join in. So Palm are potentially gifting Apple with new customers. Potentially. Apple might regard them as mostly existing customers, those who own an iPod already, and already use the iTunes store, and the only thing Palm have done is sell these customers a competitor to the iPhone, based in part on software written by Apple.

  11. Dana W

    Oddly enough...........

    Zune marketplace refuses to support iPods with their subscription services or software, yet mysteriously you don't hear anyone screaming about the unfairness of it all, or about the "Microsoft coolaid drinkers". Or Microsoft's "evil lock in". Or OMG its anti-trust! "Mind you, Apple abandoning the convoluted DRM Microsoft seems to love might have something to do with that"

    You don't expect Microsoft to cater to, and support iPods, so why do you expect Apple to cater to, and more importantly support Palm? Why should Apple pay the support costs for a device they do not make or profit from?

    Then again, I've never met an iPod user going , Wow! I wish that I could use that super neeto ZUNE music store with my iPod!

    I have had several palm devices, their synch was always terrible. With the way they write synchronization, I can see why they want to dump the responsibility on someone competent. And their usability always made me think of Windows 98 for some reason. There was a reset button in the stylus for a reason! I dumped my last Palm device after my first iPhone. I didn't miss it, and still don't.

    I didn't buy an iPhone because it was a status symbol, I bought it because the web browsing is the best in mobile devices, and the usage figures bear me out. It does what I want, the way I want it to, and synchs seamlessly with my Macbook Pro. I said it before, and I'll say it again. We are not forking out for the prestige, but the usability. Everyone has an iPhone now anyway, The snob appeal is long gone. Bragging you have an iPhone now is like bragging you have a TV. Who cares?

    Lastly, I love being painted as a pretentious, upperclass, single focus Mac snob, I'm living on a "disabled" fixed income, and I run OSX, Ubuntu, AND XP. But its so much easier to peg me as a rich, elitist Mac only user, with a Latte in one hand, and my pinky finger in the air. I hate to break this to you, but I live in a very low income area, and I'm starting see Macbooks all over. Mac is NOT just for the "privileged" class anymore. And with the prices going down, this is only going to continue.

  12. DrXym Silver badge

    @Dana W

    Palm and Apple are entirely within their rights to engage in this little "war" of theirs. Apple is protecting their proprietary service from interlopers. Palm is reverse engineering support for a popular synchronisation platform.

    Personally I think I sympathize more with Palm than Apple. Apple are deliberately trying to restrict their software just like they deliberately restrict their OS when there is no technical reason for doing so.

    At the same time, I think Palm and others would be doing themselves a big favour by not pandering to Apple by engaging in an arms race. I think they should pay a bunch of money to someone like Songbird and licence that instead. Not only is Songbird very similar to iTunes in functionality, it is considerably more open and faster too.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @For Glod's sake

    License fee? What makes you think Apple would license it? If you want interoperability with iTunes then reverse engineering's the only game in town.

  14. Eric Hood


    Actually all Palm need to do is write an application to read the xml files in the iTunes library. Nokia and Rim do this already.

    I downloaded the software for my N80 earlier this week, sync over USB to my MacBook and it asks which playlists I want transferred to my phone and then continues with iPhoto sync too.

    A first class effort, I think Palm come off looking like whiny children. This cat and mouse game will not end well for them I suspect.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A shabby way to treat your customers

    From a different perspective. Is it acceptable for Palm to launch a product where a key feature has essentially been hacked, and for which they have no licensing agreement? The Pre is after all an expensive product; USD 2400 over a 24 month period.

    Is it fair for Palm to expose it's customers to a cat and mouse game with Apple? Or should Palm use their considerable software development talent to build something like BlackBerry Media Sync application instead?

    By focusing the discussion on Apple, are we not letting Palm off the hook for what is a shabby way to treat their customers.

  16. Sean Timarco Baggaley


    " just like they deliberately restrict their OS when there is no technical reason for doing so."

    Apple aren't in the business of selling operating systems. They're a *hardware* company. Their software is intended to sell that hardware. If you still don't get it, I explain it all rather better here:

    Apple are not to blame for the failings of their competitors. As so many people keep tiresomely pointing out, Apple's hardware is rarely all that advanced technically. It's the *design* that makes all the difference. Hell, the first iPhone wasn't even 3G, but it still flew off the shelves.

    Nokia alone have produced over 700 mobile phones in over two decades. If any company should know how to beat Apple in the mobile phone market, it's Nokia. So what the hell is their excuse? Are some of you now going to claim that Apple have some kind of "monopoly" in the mobile phone sector too?

    Apple aren't doing anything special. They've just worked out what people want. It seems many people quite like well-designed, quality products which are easy to use. Who knew?

  17. Anonymous Coward

    No whining

    Palm is the underdog here, so I'd support it willy-nilly. And it's not whining, it's just reciprocating Apple's move.

    There's also nothing wrong in offering convenience to customers, even if it's at the expense of Apple. Which, by the way, is one big control freak. Even bigger than the guys at Redmond, and that's saying something. Competition is a Good Thing.


    Typed on a multi-boot high-specced machine, currently running Vista x64; owner of an ipod, disliking the sluggish itunes on Windows.

  18. windywoo
    Thumb Up

    Apple proving they can out MS MS

    iTunes is more than just a synch service for iPods and iPhones, its the primary music library for OSX. By restricting it to only iPods and iPhones Apple is simply confusing customers and adding more clutter to their desktops.

    iTunes did have synch services for other devices but these disappeared once the iPod came on the scene. As the predominant music library provider and the default library provider on OSX. Apple has to grow up and allow other devices to synch or we end up with a mess of proprietary software working with only one type of device.

    For those comparing this to Zune, Microsoft already provide WMP which synchs to many different devices.

  19. Robert E A Harvey

    Nokia and @Sean Timarco Baggaley

    ""Nokia alone have produced over 700 mobile phones in over two decades. If any company should know how to beat Apple in the mobile phone market, it's Nokia. So what the hell is their excuse?"" Quite right Sean. Quite right.

    They may have produced 700 phones over that time, but they are indistinguishable from each other, and from most others. Like the manufactuers of cameras and motor cars they are stuck with a "me too" mindrut where they only make what is already selling. Innovation is risky so basically they don't.

    Ignoring things like DAB radio, IR remote control emulation, Garage door opening nodes, microcash, football ground eticket admission (all of which have been pundited and never appeared) how about telephony? How come at least one model in the range can't take dual SIM cards? How come you can't bundle your home and mobile numbers and have both ring when either gets an incoming call? How come voicemail can't be transferred to the phone like text messages, to be replayed when out of service?

    There are hundreds of potential innovations (like auto-power down at a set time each evening for my work phone) and yet Nokia - and the rest of them - just make the same phone over and over again because the marketing departments are cowards.

    So if Apple stir things up and make something people actually want, well bloody good show.

  20. Robert E A Harvey

    @AC re @mine

    "License fee? What makes you think Apple would license it? "

    That's the clue, isn't it? If they can't do a deal to do it properly, they should not do it at all.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old prejudices die hard

    ... wouldn't touch i-tunes with a barge pole, and that is the primary reason I have never bought any ipod product.

  22. My New Handle

    Hits nail on head

    Sean Timarco Baggaley describes it in one. Well said sir. It really isn't a difficult concept to grasp except for all the anti-anything-Apple that haunt every single Register article containing the word Apple in it.

    There can be absolutely no reason on this earth why any company should offer up its competitive edge on a silver platter for all and sundry to feast off.

    Palm have had simply years to get into the game. Instead, with the Pre, they come up with some half-arsed idea of a handset and place a key reliance upon another manufacturers product. That they have had to reverse-engineer says it all. It is a wonder that Apple have not set their lawyers upon Palm for committing no end of legal infractions.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No title

    "Zune marketplace refuses to support iPods with their subscription services or software, yet mysteriously you don't hear anyone screaming about the unfairness of it all, or about the "Microsoft coolaid drinkers". Or Microsoft's "evil lock in". Or OMG its anti-trust! "Mind you, Apple abandoning the convoluted DRM Microsoft seems to love might have something to do with that""

    Microsoft also doesn't actively prevent devices from working with the Zune software (no-one's tried, but I doubt Microsoft would stop them). Also, the Zune Marketplace offers DRM-free downloads - only the subscription service uses DRM tracks, because the tracks need to stop working if the subscription is cancelled.

    "There can be absolutely no reason on this earth why any company should offer up its competitive edge on a silver platter for all and sundry to feast off."

    If Microsoft had invented the iPod and did what Apple are doing then there's no way that you'd be supporting this. Apple didn't give the world iTunes as some sort of gift. They produced it so that they could flog music to people.

    If you have an iPod and a Pre then it's natural that you'd want to be able to sync with the same library. If you have a Mac then iTunes is the default media player, so there's even more reason to want this functionality. It's convenience.

    But then maybe Microsoft should stop letting third parties sync with the Windows Media Player library and all those cheap MP3 player manufacturers should have to write their own software. They should all stop leeching off Microsoft's hard work.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Right or wrong? Regardless, what Palm is doing here is WRONG

    Neglecting the politics of this, have any of the morons here stopped to think how Palm is achieving this hack? By breaking the USB licence, that's how. Not only are they telling the hardware that the Pré is an iPod in this latest hack but also that it is manufactured by Apple Inc. And not by Palm. They ought to have their licence to implement USB revoked for this. It is absolutely despicable behaviour from what is supposedly a top tier technology company and wholly against the grain of what is right and wrong with regard to licencing and developing hardware platforms.

  25. Richard Lloyd

    Get your first sentence right...

    Sean Timarco Baggaley said "Apple aren't in the business of selling operating systems."

    Quite a flagrant lie from Sean there and making the rest of his comment less credible because of it. Apple *are* in the business of selling operating systems! You can buy Mac OS X as a standalone retail product either from an Apple store or on various online sites. They also sell the OS as part of an OS+software+hardware bundle and have highly dubiously crafted an EULA to try to stop users from installing the standalone OS on anything other than Apple kit.

    I certainly agree that Apple shouldn't have to *support* users who install Mac OS X on non-Apple kit, simply because Apple won't have tested that hardware/software combo. I vehemently disagree that they can force exactly what hardware you install the OS on - that's outrageous and indefensible in my books.

    Apple are the only OS vendor in the world who imposes this restriction, certainly on the ubiquitous Intel x86 platform at least (I suspect some mainframe OS'es might have equally dodgy hardware-restricting EULAs...e.g. IBM maybe?) and they have never justified the restriction to the public at large (it's clearly to protect their hardware sales, but they've never admitted that).

  26. John Square

    @Robert E A Harvey, Sean T, New Handle

    Well said- anti trust isnt there to protect people who can't get it right, and Palm fall into that category at the moment.

    I'm not an iPhone owner (I seem to prefer lower tech in the phone market) but the traditional phone vendors rode their own gravy train to the end of the line. Apple came along and invented a more complete package, doing touch screen, application sales and a slew of other things in a better way than the intra-vendor wars had seen done before. They haven't quite got the enterprise bit sorted yet, but I'm seeing more companies chance their arms on an iPhone as a corporate handset, and I have a feeling that the iPhone may yet be one of a very few Apple enterprise success stories. Mayby just a x.1 os revison away, perhaps?

    Good work, jobsian minions, you did well there.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iTunes - you can keep that POS.

    The only reason to use iTunes is if you are forced to (like me - iPhone user, but only till the contract expires). Other than that you would have to be an IDIOT to want to use it. There are plenty of other places you can get hold of legal music. I know of at least one piece of software that is far superior to iTunes in every way.................

    J River Media Centre (JRMC) - now there is a great bit of software that can actually properly manage your collection be it 10 or 10.000 albums. It is also available to license too.

    JRMC has always supported Apple kit until Apple decided to deliberately screw 3rd party sync sofware (I think a few iPod models may still be supported).

    I like the iPhone - but it is intentionally crippled in many respects to keep it as closed off as possible...... To me that is unacceptable (in fact to anyone that should be unacceptable unless you are a fanboi).

    So this is my first..... and last Apple product...... I just don't buy their corporate bullshit way of operating - treating customers with contempt rather than with respect. The iPhone is a great example of that - it is missing (either deliberately or through Apple tampering) very basic features that most other phones take for granted - unhindered bluetooth operation comes to mind, as does forwarding a message.

    Then being 'forced' to use iTunes as phone management software is an insult to say the least. Closed off devices etc kill opposition killing innovation. That is Apples secret................

    All the brainwashed fanbois cannot see it though. I for one will not even entertain buying (or advise anyone to buy) Apple products in the future. Perhaps they will wake up and realise their products would be that much more succesful if they lightened up a little.

  28. The First Dave


    Personally, I think I side with Apple on this one: the Pre has not been designed to work with iTunes, it has been designed so that it actually claims to be an iPod when it connects. That is surely only half a step away from a lawsuit. If Palm were so confident of their position, the Pre would operate like an iPod, but would be honest by having a connection string that shows it as a Pre when it connects to iTunes. That shows bad faith, right from the outset.

  29. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Paris Hilton

    Wrong question folks....

    FFS, the question is not should Palm use iTurds but why should anybody use iTurds to manage their music.

    The iTurds application has a shit user interface and invokes the same response in me as the QuickTime player, it's just one step above a virus, install iTurds and you will end up (at least 3) running processes, I can't remember their names off the top of my head but I think they are iTunesApplication.exe, iPodDeviceHelper and a 3rd process whose name I can't think of.

    What are the idiots that design these applications thinking (or do they even think) why do I have all these processes running using memory and CPU, JUST IN CASE I PLUG IN THEIR BIT OF HARDWARE. I'm fed up having to edit the start-up configuration all the time just to stop these crap processes running all the time, do these fuckheads think that I only use my PC to run their precious little application.

    A quick browse on the interweb thingy will produce a couple of alternatives - QED

    Paris, ready to interface with new hardware anytime

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