John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

iTunes 9 Breaks Palm Pre Media Sync Again

jobswpredieLike we didn’t see this one coming. Among the new features of Apple’s iTunes 9 media software is one that wasn’t announced this morning: An update that prevents the Palm Pre from synching with it. This should come as no surprise since Apple (AAPL) has done this before, most recently with iTunes 8.2.1, which, as Apple spokesperson Nat Kerris explained to me at the time, “disables devices falsely pretending to be iPods, including the Palm Pre.”

Reached for comment this afternoon, Kerris had nothing much else to add beyond that first statement: “Yes, as we’ve said before, newer versions of Apple’s iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with unsupported digital media players.”

Palm (PALM), of course, re-enabled the synching feature a few weeks later with a point release to its webOS. It will come as no surprise if the company does the same this time. And the two companies will go round and round until someone gets tired or the lawyers are called in.

UPDATE: Palm has confirmed to me that iTunes 9 does indeed break WebOS media sync. The company had no further comment on the issue, beyond the ones it gave me in July.

Palm’s media sync works with iTunes 8.2. If Apple chooses to disable media sync in iTunes, it will be a direct blow to their users who will be deprived of a seamless synchronization experience. However, people will have options. They can stay with the iTunes version that works to sync their music on their Pre, they can transfer the music via USB, and there are other third-party applications we can consider.

Palm believes that openness and interoperability offer better experiences for users by allowing them the freedom to use the content they own without interference across devices and services, so on behalf of consumers, we have notified the USB Implementers Forum of what we believe is improper use of the Vendor ID number by another member.