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Palm Pre iTunes Syncing Back With WebOS 1.1 Update 396

Posted by kdawson
from the cheeky-that dept.
suraj.sun points out CNet coverage of Palm's newest OS release, which restores the ability to synch with iTunes that iTunes 8.2.1 had broken. "The news was posted on Palm's blog where it listed the new features and enhancements of the software update and nonchalantly added at the end: 'Oh, and one more thing: Palm WebOS 1.1 re-enables Palm media sync. That's right — you once again can have seamless access to your music, photos and videos from the current version of iTunes (8.2.1).' Bold move, Palm. Bold move. It'll be interesting to see how Apple responds, and do you suppose the use of the phrase 'one more thing,' a phrase that Apple CEO Steve Jobs often uses to introduce a new product at the end of his keynotes, was intentional or am I just reading too much into this?"
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Palm Pre iTunes Syncing Back With WebOS 1.1 Update

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  • Intentional (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jDeepbeep (913892) on Friday July 24, 2009 @02:33PM (#28810259)

    and do you suppose the use of the phrase 'one more thing,' a phrase that Apple CEO Steve Jobs often uses to introduce a new product at the end of his keynotes, was intentional or am I just reading too much into this?"

    Intentional.

    • cat and mouse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by goombah99 (560566) on Friday July 24, 2009 @02:37PM (#28810329)

      Why as a consumer would I be so dumb as to buy a palm if my itunes only worked intermittently or had no assured path forward. Sure one could perhaps use the old version of itunes while I waited for palm to fix it. But really that's not a strategy. I'm in that boat right now with my jailbroken iphone and did I not sort of enjoy the novelty of this cat and mouse game it would be a detraction not an attraction. I can't imagine most people want a phone that might not work some of the time. who needs to waste time like that?

      • Re:cat and mouse (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @02:43PM (#28810429)

        Why as a consumer would I be so dumb as to buy a palm if my itunes only worked intermittently or had no assured path forward. Sure one could perhaps use the old version of itunes while I waited for palm to fix it. But really that's not a strategy. I'm in that boat right now with my jailbroken iphone and did I not sort of enjoy the novelty of this cat and mouse game it would be a detraction not an attraction. I can't imagine most people want a phone that might not work some of the time. who needs to waste time like that?

        I know this sounds crazy, but most of the time I use my phone as a communication device.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why as a consumer would I be so dumb to buy music from itunes when I prefer palm over the iphone?

        • Re:cat and mouse (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DurendalMac (736637) on Friday July 24, 2009 @02:57PM (#28810633)
          Um, maybe you already had? And if Palm would grow a few braincells then they would write their own damn software that would read the XML file in the iTunes library and sync data without needing to run iTunes and pretend it's an iPod. Current iTunes tracks are just AAC files that will play on the Pre no matter what you use to sync it.
          • Re:cat and mouse (Score:4, Interesting)

            by ground.zero.612 (1563557) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:07PM (#28810771)

            And if Palm would grow a few braincells then they would write their own damn software

            Do you have any examples of a large and successful company wasting resources on development, by developing an exact clone of another company's product, rather than spending practically nothing to write a simple work-around?

            I'd actually be curious to hear of some, because I would like to ridicule them for being so stupid.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by omnichad (1198475)

              You don't have to clone iTunes. You just need an XML parser and file transfer tool. Let the user use iTunes to enjoy their music on their PC, and let the Palm software sync the library.

              • Re:cat and mouse (Score:5, Informative)

                by gnasher719 (869701) on Friday July 24, 2009 @04:13PM (#28811817)

                You don't have to clone iTunes. You just need an XML parser and file transfer tool. Let the user use iTunes to enjoy their music on their PC, and let the Palm software sync the library.

                Using Cocoa:

                NSDictionary* theLibrary = [NSDictionary dictionaryWithContentsOfFile: [@"~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml" stringByExpandingTildeInPath]];
                NSArray* thePlayLists = [theLibrary objectForKey: @"Playlists"];
                NSDictionary* theTracks = [theLibrary objectForKey: @"Tracks"];

                and you can go from there. To check the exact file structure, run "Property List Editor" and have a look at the contents of the file.

            • Re:cat and mouse (Score:4, Interesting)

              by richlv (778496) on Friday July 24, 2009 @04:11PM (#28811771)

              well, actually, palm might embrace other existing software that is way, way more friendly towards them.
              as amarok developers mentioned in akademy (http://www.kdenews.org/2009/07/16/business-free [kdenews.org]), amarok, as a crossplatform music manager/player, would be better suited for palm and would allow them to out-feature itunes with little resources.

          • by thule (9041) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:09PM (#28810805) Homepage

            "d if Palm would grow a few braincells then they would write their own damn software that would read the XML file in the iTunes library"

            This what the Pre already does. It is just that Palm decided to let iTunes copy the files over to the device first, instead of reading directly out of iTunes. Why should Apple care were the XML file is read? From a technical perspective it is basically the same. It saves the user from installing additional software. The is one of the nice things about the Pre, no need for any additional desktop software.

            • "instead of reading directly out of iTunes"

              The music files in question are all stored, unencrypted on the file system referenced in the XML file. If you are already parsing the file and already have a means for copying files back and forth to the device (which the Pre does) why would you use iTunes in the first place? In addition the XML file is again, just a flat file which is unencrypted on the FS. There's absolutely no need to go through iTunes for this unless you were feeling either Lazy, Too Smart for

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by G Money (12364)

        Why as a consumer would I be so dumb as to buy anything Apple if they're only goal is to extract as much money from me as possible by forcing me to use only their products? If a company like Apple wants to specifically break compatibility with their products for third parties then I would choose not to use their products. Why is it that people jump on Microsoft when they trap consumers but applaud Apple for the same behavior? I'm not saying Apple doesn't make good products (I think they do), but the pric

        • Re:cat and mouse (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DurendalMac (736637) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:02PM (#28810719)
          1. You can use your iPod with other software.
          2. With the exception of older DRM'ed tracks, you can put your music from iTunes on any device with any other software that supports said device and the proper file formats.
          3. Palm is taking the lazyass way out and piggybacking on iTunes when anyone with three braincells could see this leapfrog coming a mile away. Yes, Apple is being dickish about this, but Palm damn well knew this would happen and they have a lot more to lose from pissed off customers than Apple does. The iTunes library is just an XML file. It would be trivial for Palm to make an app that reads said file and syncs without the need for iTunes to be running.
          • Re:cat and mouse (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Homburg (213427) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:32PM (#28811151) Homepage

            1. You can use your iPod with other software.

            Only because people are continually working on reverse-engineering Apple's attempts to lock-out other software from working with iPods. And you can't use a recent iPod Touch or iPhone with any software other than iTunes, because Apple have explicitly locked out the methods used by third-party clients to sync with earlier versions of the iPhone.

          • Re:cat and mouse (Score:5, Insightful)

            by encoderer (1060616) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:52PM (#28811469)
            Perhaps. But those of us with *FOUR* braincells, and a little experience actually writing software, can knock holes in your argument pretty easily.

            The most obvious being, what if I chose to manually manage the music on my device? iTunes has no issue with this, but Palm would have to write their own GUI that would read the iTunes XML and then allow drag-n-drop sync.

            Second, as a user, the last thing I need is another iTunes. I like the software. I know the software. It does its job well. If I want to buy a Pre, I as a consumer would just much rather use what I'm currently using.

            Third, there are about a trillion edge cases with your suggestion. Like, multiple XML files. How will I know which XML file the user is using? I could have one in my All Users and one in my personal profile. iTunes has a simple option under the File menu to load a library. What would Palm do if they went gui-less and implemented your suggestion.

            Finally, Palm isn't complaning that Apple updated their app. They just updated the Pre to match it. Why on Earth does it bother you so much? Apple are treating the iPod is hardly more than a hardware dongle for iTunes. Fine. But no reason to bunch-up your panties just because Palm circumvents their DRM. And don't kid yourself, that's exactly what a dongle is. DRM.
        • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:11PM (#28810827)

          When tunes are stored on an ipod they are stored in a way that creates a speedbump to just trasnfering them off. basically the names are munged. Maybe they mess with the id3 tags--don't know. But apple has long been a proponent of speedbump DRM, that is drm that gets in your way enough that most users won't hassle with defeating it.

          The real trick that apple accomplished was convincing the music companies that this was sufficient protection.

          IN return apple probably has to make a reasonable effort to prevent cases where pod-to-pod transfers all proliferation of music. this would include nominal efforts to never have a legitimate channel for this.

          they won't care if it's not perfect. But they probably are obligated to try.

        • Re:cat and mouse (Score:5, Insightful)

          by clf8 (93379) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:22PM (#28811001)

          You buy the Apple products because you LIKE the Apple products, and you LIKE the way they work together.

          Now PalmPre starts syncing with iTunes, but doesn't sync right. That will look bad on Apple. Let's say the PalmPre somehow effs up your library. That will look bad on Apple. Sure, Apple can say 'we don't support the Pre' but if you're music library is hosed you're going to be mad at Apple.

          Look at the Motorola Rokr, they licensed the technology from Apple to allow it to Sync. And Apple guaranteed it would work right and not screw anything up. I'm actually surprised (for better or worse) that Apple hasn't invoked the DCMA.

          What Apple does NOT want to do is become Windows and have to support 80 billion solutions under the sun. Their strength is and always has been tight integration. Having to lose focus on that and suddenly deal with problems with every Tom, Dick, and Harry syncing with iTunes will delay new features and products.

      • Re:cat and mouse (Score:5, Informative)

        by jonnythan (79727) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:07PM (#28810769) Homepage

        My Pre has worked continuously.

        I just didn't update to iTunes 8.2.1. And besides, there are other ways to sync the Pre besides iTunes. It syncs the way all other non-Apple phones sync. It just throws in iTunes syncing as an extra bonus, which is nice.

      • I think the Palm already doesn't work some of the time. I believe you have to have one form of connection or another to be able to use any apps on it. No bars, no wifi you have a hunk of plastic and metal with pretty lights and nothing more.
        Maybe music playback works it did on my RAZR. But I doubt any apps will run. At least with the iPhone if I can't connect I can do more than play music. Anybody care to enlighten us further? I really am curious.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by wbo (1172247)
          The Pre functions just fine without a cell signal or WiFI. Apps continue to run just fine because most of them consist of HTML and JavaScript files combined with a SQLite database that is stored locally in Flash memory.

          Some apps are more useful than others (The web browser and YouTube applications are not very useful without some form of Internet connection because they don't cache anything) but apps like Calendar, Tasks, Memos, Photos, Music, SplashID, and Classic work just fine.

          Even the email app
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by The_Duck271 (1494641)

      Intentional.

      How the hell is this "insightful"?!

  • by popo (107611) on Friday July 24, 2009 @02:35PM (#28810291) Homepage

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by stevencbrown (238995)

      think you got that saying wrong - it's supposed to be - "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice - can't get fooled again".

  • by quantumplacet (1195335) on Friday July 24, 2009 @02:37PM (#28810335)

    well, if anyone RTFA, there's an even more interesting quote from Palm:

    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.

    Looks like Palm really is ready to turn this into a war.

    • Palm could easily inter-operate with iTunes without pretending to be an iPod and abusing Apple's vendor ID. All it has to do is create its own synchronization driver.

      "But wait!" the Apple-haters say. "Apple is an evil, anti-competitive wannabe-monopoly! There's no way it would allow such a thing! No way would Apple allow its precious iTunes on other devices! It wants to extend its iTunes dominance to the iPhone by locking out all competitors!"

      I give you:
      http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/productivity_too [apple.com]

      • facepalm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by commodoresloat (172735) * on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:24PM (#28811031)

        Somebody mod this up. Palm is in the wrong here, but they're counting on capitalizing on anti-Apple sentiment since a lot of people are justifiably fed up with Apple. But Palm really needs to concentrate on making a better product -- if they want to compete with the iphone they've got to do more than piggy back on its success.

        I really wanted to like the Palm Pre. I've still got my Treo, as beat to hell as it is, because I don't like the keyboard-less design of the iphone. (I text a lot and I like the Treo's keypad better than most). I have an ipod touch so I have most of the cool app features of the iphone without the AT+T contract. I went to the Sprint store to check out the Pre and I found it flimsy and slow, and its interface completely counterintuitive compared to the iphone. I was completely disappointed and now I might buy a Centro instead just because it's exactly what I now have except smaller and faster and it comes in green. So, yeah, I might opt for a feature set from like 1997 rather than the latest and greatest -- if that's happening in your product line, there's no way in hell you're gonna compete with the iphone.

      • It's perfect! (Score:5, Informative)

        by thule (9041) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:45PM (#28811361) Homepage

        "All it has to do is create its own synchronization driver."

        Why? All the driver would do is see the Pre and copy the files over.... kinda like it ALREADY DOES! This is because the "sync driver" is already inside the Pre. The Pre reads the iPod music library files directly. Palm already did the "hard work" of reading well documented files. They just chose to do it in a different place than the rest of the market. Why create a totally new way of storing music files, why you can just copy how someone already did it. The only reason the other devices need a driver is because they don't know how to read the library files directly.

        This gives the best experience to the user. No additional software to install.

      • by ConfusedVorlon (657247) on Friday July 24, 2009 @06:47PM (#28814099) Homepage

        but why as customer should I have to install that extra stuff when it Palm can offer out-of-the-box interoperability with iTunes?

        Palm didn't abuse any vendor id. The were really clear (in round one) that this was a palm device. Thy used the vendor id only where it was a 'magic number' that was required to get interoperability.

  • Huh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WarlockD (623872) on Friday July 24, 2009 @02:39PM (#28810369)
    I just updated my Pre too. Scares me though. While Apple is selling DRM free music, dost it really stop them from their software only syncing up to properly signed iPods? I mean I like my iPod, but if its going to be a device that needs a secure encrypted channel to transfer file for me to just use normally, I am not sure I would want to use an iPod again.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Facegarden (967477)

      I just updated my Pre too. Scares me though. While Apple is selling DRM free music, dost it really stop them from their software only syncing up to properly signed iPods? I mean I like my iPod, but if its going to be a device that needs a secure encrypted channel to transfer file for me to just use normally, I am not sure I would want to use an iPod again.

      DVD Jon started some software that is like iTunes, but open, and made for any device. It looks pretty cool, though I haven't tried it yet.
      it's called DoubleTwist, look it up.
      -Taylor

  • I doubt if Apple expects to be able to keep Palm out on a long-term basis. Apple's strategy of protection seems to be not so much to try to create an impregnable barrier, but rather to introduce inconveniences for those who use their products in an "unapproved" way. So if you get a Palm Pre, you'll have to check the web before you update your iTunes to make sure that Apple hasn't disabled Pre sync, and then wait for Palm to get around to fixing it.

  • USB Vendor ID (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @02:40PM (#28810385)
    According to http://www.precentral.net/how-palm-re-enabled-itunes-sync [precentral.net] , Palm now uses Apple's USB vendor ID. Which is kind of not allowed...

    Unauthorized use of assigned or unassigned USB Vendor ID Numbers and associated Product ID Numbers are strictly prohibited.

    And because the world doesn't always make sense, Palm filed a complaint with the USB Implementors Forum, stating Apple is abusing the vendor ID (according to http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20090723/you-can-almost-hear-the-shrieks-of-outrage-in-cupertino-cant-you/ [allthingsd.com] ).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by clone53421 (1310749)

      Interesting. What sort of teeth does the USB IF have?

      I mean, the complaint is obviously going to fail, as I see it. If Apple wants to use their vendor ID to identify their own USB products so that iTunes doesn't work with anything else, that's within their right. Even if Palm thinks it's a dick move by Apple, I can't see anything actually prohibiting them from doing it.

    • by djcapelis (587616)

      I think Palm's complaint to the USB IF isn't intended to get Apple to stop. I think Palm knows that the USB IF has no teeth. However, at the same time, they also want to put on record why they're breaking the guidelines by using Apple's USB vendor ID.

      That way they put Apple in a position where it's harder for them to take the high ground because Palm's complaint is their way of going on record that Apple is violating the purpose and spirit of the USB spec.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by shacky003 (1595307)
      I wouldn't think it would be "not allowed" in this instance, if (as reported above) Palm is correct when telling on Apple for misuse of the USB vendor ID. This would then be a legal way of circumventing an illegal/not allowed block by Apple (in using the Vendor ID string as a vehicle to kill products from using its' software)
      If this pisses off Apple enough, I could see them pushing an update for older iPods to change the way they are recognised by iTunes, maybe using a more complicated method that will onl
  • Watch out (Score:2, Funny)

    by T Murphy (1054674)
    Palm better watch out- Apple will be looking to get revenge by making the iPhone compatible with Palm's music store.
  • and so it begins (Score:5, Interesting)

    by v1 (525388) on Friday July 24, 2009 @02:45PM (#28810457) Homepage Journal

    Now announcing iTunes Update Month!

    Software update will have a new update for iTunes every 4-6 days, with an ever more entertaining list of "bugfixes and improvements", none of which will mention anything about palm.

    I remember them doing this awhile back for a plugin for itunes that would add a second ipod to your list on the left, that you could drag and drop FROM. That spawned three iTunes updates in two weeks. People that diff'd the updates found basically all they were doing was adjusting their plugin acceptance code. Finally on the third update, they gave up on trying to filter it by behavior, and just plain banned the name of the plugin. It was at this point the author basically said ok I'm done, they're targeting me personally and that's not a war I'm going to win.

  • This means iWar!

  • I haven't been a big fan of Palm for many years now, but I'm starting to become a fan again.

    I think it is a combination of the battle with Apple, which I hope they are able to win, and I think the woman in their commercials is amazingly hot. :)

  • by WelshRarebit (1595637) on Friday July 24, 2009 @02:54PM (#28810581)
    By forcing Apple to issue updates specifically disable their device, Palm is capitalizing on the media hype maelstrom that is lavished on Apple, keeping the name "Pre" on the lips of people who would normally only ever talk about the iPhone. So when the media covers this "war", they are in effect establishing the idea of comparability between the products that would have been hard to get through had they just gone with traditional advertising and promotions. Between this and the new Microsoft ads, it is interesting to see Apple's competitors finally starting to ratchet up their competition with a brilliant marketing company.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by indiechild (541156)

      You're spot on.

      I think Palm's executives are douchebags, but they're brilliant douchebags.

  • Relax (Score:2, Insightful)

    by anonymousNR (1254032)
    They are just phones and music players. Is it really that big an issue ?
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:20PM (#28810967)

    Jobs: You synced my flagship product!

  • 1. There are defined APIs Apple provides to allow third party software to interact with iTunes, and do everything Palm needs.

    2. Palm is better at sync software than Apple *anyway*.

    Doing it this way is just begging for a visit from the fuckup fairy. Plus, I want Hotsync back. And a pony.

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday July 24, 2009 @04:22PM (#28811991)

    "It's not done 'till Palm won't run!"

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday July 24, 2009 @07:30PM (#28814479)
    It's really stupid of Apple to try and block the Pre from the iTMS eco-system. Apple sells non-DRM music through that store and makes a little bit (most goes to the record companies, but Apple still makes something and enhances their standing as the world's biggest digital music store) music through iTMS that can be played on the Pre - so why throw out this market and hope that you can force them into an iPod only to make more money now? Be nice and they might buy an iPod later because of a good experience with iTunes.

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