By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm
File this one under Utterly Unsurprising News Stories: Apple’s new version of iTunes blocks the technique that the Palm Pre was using to provide seamless of music and video with the Apple application. That was, of course, by far the likeliest scenario all along. Pre owners can sidestep Apple’s move by keeping with the old version of iTunes for the moment, but long-term, the Pre’s iTunes syncing–which was accomplished by tricking iTunes into thinking the Pre was an iPod–is dead.
I know it would be better for consumers if Apple opened up iTunes enough to let the Pre and other non-Apple devices sync with the application. (It might even be better for Apple, since it would help it sell music to folks who don’t own its music players and phones.) But given that iTunes isn’t designed to sync with other companies’ devices, I can’t be bitterly angry at Apple for cutting off Pre owners. Or at least this ranks pretty low on my list of things to be irked at Apple about.
I remain a little mystified by Palm’s actions to date, since the company used iTunes syncing as a selling point, even though it’s run by smart people who knew that Apple probably wouldn’t stand for it. There’s a a pretty obvious step it can take now, if it so chooses: release a piece of software for Windows and Macs that handles the iTunes syncing that it’s been doing directly. It can license the technology if it needs to. It may not be morally obligated to do something like this–at the moment, the Palm site still touts iTunes sync and uses fine print (in light gray type) to say it may not work forever:
…but I still think it would be classy on Palm’s part. Maybe it’s been planning to do something like that all along.