By Harry McCracken | Friday, October 30, 2009 at 8:50 am
I’m shocked. Shocked. Once again, Apple has updated iTunes, and once again, the update disables the ability of Palm’s Pre to sync directly with iTunes via the Pre’s Media Sync feature. If I’m keeping track correctly, this is the third time Apple has blocked the Pre.
I would have guessed that Palm would have given up by now. And I think it should give up–even if you’re okay with the Pre piggybacking on Apple’s software by using USB in a way that the people in charge of USB apparently object to, a feature that’s destined to break over and over isn’t really a feature. It’s an unreliable kludge. And Palm could implement non-kludgy iTunes sync if it chose to. The way some of its competitors have.
And here’s an interesting twist. On Palm’s site, the feature list for the Pre still touts Media Sync as a major benefit:
And as usual, a footnote explains that Media Sync only works with a certain version of iTunes, and that it’s, um, conceivable that Apple could update iTunes in a way that renders Media Sync inoperable:
Palm is also promoting the Pixi, its new $99 WebOS phone which doesn’t arrive until November 15th. The company has a very similar blurb on that phone’s media features that talks about iTunes transfers–but this one doesn’t mention Media Sync:
And this time, the footnote doesn’t offer any disclaimers about syncing only working with certain versions of iTunes:
Unless Palm has come up with a superkludge that it’s positive Apple can never foil–which it hasn’t–I can think of only three explanations for the changes in its explanation of iTunes sync:
(A) It’s still planning/hoping to use the kludge or a variant thereof, but has decided it doesn’t need to offer any disclaimers;
(B) It’s still planning/hoping to use the kludge or a variant thereof, and its marketing copy has gotten unimaginably sloppy;
(C) The Pixi will use the same sort of utility that the rest of the industry uses to sync with iTunes libraries externally rather than directly through iTunes.
Scenarios (A) and (B) both seem unlikely, so I’m guessing that the Pixi will offer a more traditional, less controversial approach to iTunes sync. And if the Pixi does, the Pre surely will as well. I guess we’ll know in a little more than two weeks, if not sooner.
(Okay, here’s another scenario: Palm and Apple have struck a deal to let the Pixi sync with iTunes, no kludge required. Whaddaya think the chances are of that happening?)