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back to article Apple ends Palm Pre's iTunes charade

Apple released an update to its iTunes music-management app on Wednesday that prevents Palm's Pre smartphone from appearing to be an iPod when connected to a Mac or PC. An Apple spokesman told The Reg that "iTunes 8.2.1 is a free software update that provides a number of important bug fixes. It also disables devices falsely …

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Boffin

Digital Natives

"unsophisticated users for whom connecting a USB drive is akin to rocket science."

The idea of Digital Natives is not new so I'm unsure who these people are to whom you refer. They have no idea how to plug a device in yet they bought a Palm Pre? Surely not. There are plenty of Walkman phones on the back wall they'd be more likely to graviate to or if they were too complicated there's always a pretzel/hotdog/icecream vendor nearby to distract them.

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Grenade

That's simple..

..don't update - even better, uninstall the bloated crap.

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Thumb Down

Thumbs down to palm on this one

This was a bad move by palm. They've led everyone to believe you can synchronise your music through itunes (which love it or hate it, at least it works well enough to keep your music organised). Now that's going to break, and people will have to go back to managing everything manually (a nightmare if you've got a big collection) or look for something else.

They should have agreed this with apple up front, or not done it at all, rather than "borrow" another companies software via the back door.

On the plus side, perhaps palm will come out with their own music management app that competes with itunes like the pre does the iphone. That can only lead to goodness.

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Boffin

It's MY ball and I'm going home!!!

Puuhhllease!!! When will this childish bickering behavior stop !!!

Corporates should really start to act like grown ups, then we can all benefit.

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FAIL

@Chris 19: Goodness . . .

Do you remember Palm Desktop? I'd hardly call that "good".

Completely agree with the overall sentiment though; this is a massive failure by Palm.

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Go

Simplez

DoubleTwist anyone?

http://www.doubletwist.co

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Really?

It's disingenuous for Apple to claim that syncing is not supported for non-Apple devices when they're actually going out of their way to prevent it. It makes it sounds like it's just an unforeseen consequence of an update when it's actually a proactive policy.

I'm not one for Palm piggy-backing on Apple's success but then iTunes should support 3rd party applications anyway. This is yet another move by Apple to further bolster their dominance over the phone and media sectors. I really wish Apple would grow up and learn to behave like a mature company instead of resorting to childish tactics like this.

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Anonymous Coward

@justin thomas

I remember palm desktop. It wasn't that bad on windows, but I was glad to see the back of it on mac. But that's besides the point, the people running palm aren't the people who made palm desktop anymore, they're the people who made the iphone.

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Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

If microsoft had done this....................

There would be screams of market dominance and market fixing and good old anti trust.

Apple are stupid, by restricting third party devices they will stop people buying from the itunes store unless they have an apple product to put the stuff on.

It would be nice if the EU et al grew some balls and did to Apple what it has done to other companies that act in a similar way.

Paris, she doesnt block access to third parties.

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Megaphone

EU to the rescue

I'm sure the commissioners will soon be imposing record fines on Apple for abuse of their dominant position in the portable music player market. Oh wait, I forgot, Microsoft is evil and run by soul-sucking demons, while Apple is all pink and fluffy loveliness.

As you were, people.

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WTF?

@jonas

do you actually, in any way, know how the world works? saying nothing about palm and them making themselves look like a bunch of bedroom hackers, apple have a duty to their stockholders to protect their market share, and this isn't on the extreme end of that, this is protecting their own platforms and products from third parties' piggybacking. they should have sued palm, and may still go down that route.

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Doh!

"... and there are other third-party applications we can consider."

Which is what the fuckwits should have done in the first place instead of using a stupid hack!

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iTunes?

It's crap. Use Media Monkey which can sync to any USB device...

Ironic the hard line apply had on hacking their devices considering Steve Job's days making 'blue box' phreaking tools...

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Anonymous Coward

Good riddance, iTunes is horrible

It seems designed to lock you in to AAC and QuickTime formats, is ridiculously complicated in terms of its music database structure, and full of shit that I don't need but which it insists I do need. I'd like to get rid of it completely and use something else with my 2nd gen Nano. Is there anything which will take a simple directory structure of mp3 files and let me add those to my iPod without all that wanking around you have to do in iTunes booking them into your library? I've tried Floola but it wasn't that good (this was many months ago mind you).

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FAIL

Hackers...

Funny how Jobs started out as an illegal phone phreaker...

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Jobs Horns

Where is the EU and US?

Come on, drag them backwards by the roll-neck jumper through the same legal processes that have hammered MS & Co in the past.

And that's not a dig at the EU or US Supreme Court for what they did to MS (it's all very well deserved, and then some), it's a genuine call for them to take anti-competitive practices just as seriously when they're done by ciltish makers of plastic bits & bobs as well as the evil empire etc...

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Jobs Horns

iTunes...

You'd have to force me to use that memory leaking bloat-ware. Pre owners should thank Apple for forcing them to get educated and look elsewhere!

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Err, are Palm stupid?

Hands up anyone who didn't see this coming? Didn't think so. So why didn't Palm? If Palm wanted to sync the Pre with music software they should have built one - not try and piggyback off Apple's iTunes.

Blaming Apple is damn stupid, it was obvious that Apple would take a dim view of what the Pre does, and stop it. Say what you like, Apple created iTunes as part of an end-to-end music solution. The idea is to get people to buy iPods and iPhones, yes they want to make money.

Palm wanted a "free ride". For the record, I don't have an iPhone, and the Pre looks damn interesting (even without iTunes sync) so this isn't some personal bias. Apple's move was entirely predictable, and Palm have let their customers down by claiming the Pre could sync with iTunes.

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Grenade

Where's the outrage?

sorry, I forgot the rules:

If Apple does it, it's COOL.

If Microsoft does it, it's EVIL, the END OF THE WORLD, a CONSPIRACY and a CRIME.

Swut the frooting turlingdromes.

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@Chris 68

Try Rockbox

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J 3
Headmaster

Falsely pretending?

Isn't that either redundant or a double negative? Pretending is passing as someone you aren't, so falsely pretending... surely means you are the real thing, and not pretending at all.

Anyway, yeah, if this was MS people would be screaming bloody murder -- which some are, mind. And as a Linux fanboy I'm not one to defend MS, to begin with. But what if they changed MS Office to only work with, say, files digitally signed to prove that they were created with MS Office? Or they made IE work only on websites hosted by an MS server? What Apple is doing is not very different, I think. You'd think they are not making any money from the iTunes store and only making money from hardware sales, since they don't want any other hardware to use their software.

Anyway, I'm using gtkPod to sync my MP3s to my old iPod, so life is good.

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@Jonas Taylor

"I'm not one for Palm piggy-backing on Apple's success"

See, that's the thing. It isn't. As other commenters after you pointed out, the problem is that Apple is abusing an effective monopoly here, in exactly the same way it has loudly (and correctly) decried Microsoft for doing in the past.

iTunes has become the dominant desktop music player - certainly the dominant app for transferring-music-from-PC-to-portable-player - not because it's inherently really good at either of those functions, but because its use is heavily encouraged by the iPod, which is the dominant music player. And Apple - as this story clearly demonstrates - actively works to make it as difficult as possible for anyone else to interoperate with iTunes. That's not at all different from Microsoft actively working to make it as difficult as possible for others to interoperate with Windows.

If you look at very iTunes-like applications in a less distorted context, every one of them works as hard as possible to work with as _many_ types of player as possible. Look at the Linux audio players - Rhythmbox, Banshee, AmaroK et al. They all try as hard as they can to work with iPods, Zunes, Sony players, and every yum-cha no-name mass transfer player that comes out of China. Yet Apple, keep to keep its little exclusive ecosystem safe as long as it can, pushes in exactly the opposite direction, working hard to bar compatibility with any non-Apple player. That just ain't cricket. Palm isn't doing this to take advantage of Apple's success, only to try and circumvent Apple's little monopoly play.

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Go

Alienated Palm Users? Lost revenue? Not so much...

Really? But you do know that iTunes is not the money maker, right? It's the iPod/iPhone. So why would Apple care if some measly Palm users are not buying stuff on iTunes?

If you got a Pre, get your OWN software. But I guess Palm didn't have money left over to develop the software as well to go with the hardware. Never mind, let's just piggyback on Apple, they won't dare turn the back on us... oh yeah?

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Headmaster

So Palm was not pretending?

"It also disables devices falsely pretending to be iPods, including the Palm Pre."

Falsely pretending?

From Dictionary.com

Pretend: to appear falsely, as to deceive; feign:

So to "falsely pretend" would mean that they are not pretending at all! The Apple spokesman really needs to upgrade his communication skills.

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well

PRE should offer next to iTunes also Windows Meda Player, WinAmp and SongBird plugins from Day1. If they would Apple would be too scared to shut this down

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k d

unsophisticated users

"unsophisticated users for whom connecting a USB drive is akin to rocket science."

You're kidding aren't you? How is drag and drop from USB harder than trying to work out how the hell to synch an iPod from iTunes without having it wipe over you iPod playlist?

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Jobs Halo

@ Anonamous Coward

Itunes works great. On a Mac.

Memory leaks are WINDOW'S fault, not iTunes.

I I used to blame iTunes too, before i found out its problems were not iTunes, but Windows.

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Paris Hilton

Disapointed in Palm

and not only for the carrier-specific tying of the Pre.

If they wanted to sell an iTunes compatible they should have negotiated with Apple from an early stage & paid a sensible licence fee for each one connected. That would probably have been a dollar or so.

Apple would have gained some iTunes customers, some cudos, and an insight into the pre to aid their own product differentiation.

Palm acting like a freeloader was juvenille and bound to end in tears.

Paris, 'cos she understands marketing herself.

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EU

Seeing as the pre isn't even available in Europe I don't see why the EU should do anything.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Good riddance iTunes is horrible

Chris 68 wrote: "It seems designed to lock you in to AAC and QuickTime formats, is ridiculously complicated in terms of its music database structure"

What have you been smoking? iirc, the default format for extracting files from a CD is MP3.

The music database structure (on your HD) is as follows:

Artist/Album/song.mp3

Can't get much simpler than that now, can it?

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@Dana W Errr... No It is iTunes

Apple made a Windows Compatible version of iTunes and as such it is expected to perform well on it. If it memory leaks then it is the Software at fault, not the OS.

Or did apple make it unstable on purpose to fool the uneducated into believeing macs are better.

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FAIL

@Dana W

Quote - "Memory leaks are WINDOW'S fault, not iTunes."

How do you work that one out? If it was Windows fault, every program that runs on Windows would be faulty which just isn't true. It just means Apple are better at writing code for Mac's than they are Windows, your comment is ill informed to say the least.

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hmm

Why should apple have to let palm or anyone else be able to use iTunes with their devices? And by the same token, why should microsoft not be allowed to package IE with their OS? I don't see a problem with either, if consumers want to use something different the will.

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@Dana W

You can't compare iTunes on a Windows and MAC as if they're the same program running on different systems. If there's a memory leak it isn't just the OS' fault - there's shitty coding to blame too.

Otherwise every single other app would be ballsed, too - surely?

Apple don't write very good PC apps. Shock horror :D (Or they make them shitty so people feel envious of Macs...)

@ k d - Unsophisticated users will just assume syncing erasing everything is How It Should Be and they'll just have to wait 14 hours while it Sorts It's Shit Out.

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Read the iTunes library

A while ago I had a little look into iTunes because I love it for organising my music but didn't want an iPod. It seems that the library is indexed in an XML file that also contains the playlists. It didn't seem like it would be very difficult to write an external application that would read that file and sync any playlists to device of your choosing. Palm should do that.

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Anonymous Coward

Could it be that...

Could it be that Palm, suitably narked by Apple for not supporting none Apple media players, intended to use a different 3rd party app all along but wanted to highlight Apples tactics when it comes to supporting non-Apple products? Even when utilising their own software/store? While this may backfire on Palm (I for one wouldn't be bothered not being an iTunes user, however being tied to O2 does bother me), one day it might also come back to haunt Apple to...

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WTF?

Anonamous Coward?

Now *there's* a Mac user who could benefit from copy and paste

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Anonymous Coward

Doesn't play well with others

Both Apple and MS would have that one on their report cards. Deliberately breaking compatibility with other products is a great way to piss off your customers, but if it hurts your competitor more than it hurts you then it's a business win of sorts. They've both done it, it is anticompetitive. So what's the difference? Monopoly. Being an anticompetitive control freak isn't illegal until you have one. MS clearly do, but Apple don't yet. They may want to, and are the biggest player, but they aren't there yet.

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FAIL

This shameless apple suckery

Makes me glad I sold my iphone.

There must be some sort of inverse law that states as soon as a corporation develops a "community" they become herd like, defensive and arrogant.

See xbox 360, blu-ray, google ... all good products (like the iphone) whose nutty followers scare me a little.

Suggesting that memory leaks are the fault of the OS is plain strange. Windows can be blamed for a lot of bad things ... but not for itunes being a bit rubbish. (saying it works on macs therefore it's the OS is plain weird)

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FAIL

Laugh

Gotta love the folk saying iTunes is horrible but then asking what else to use.

I must have tried a dozen other apps which all have their issues so I settled on using iTunes but then I use an iMac now and it works pretty much perfectly on that.

Surely if Palm think they can produce a better phone than Apple they should have the courage to write their own software to support it?

We want to compete with Apple but we conceed we can't write software better than they can. What kind of a message does that send out?

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Jobs Halo

@Dana W, memory leaks?

As much as I am sure most people on this site like to berate windows (we do have to work with it on a daily basis after all... Unless you're a happy BOFH running around on your modded segway inside a giant linux server farm, wearing your active nightvision goggles rather than turning on the lights, just because you can), memory leaks are usually the fault of the application itself, not the underlying operating system.

Sure, the OS should do proper memory management, but saying that the app is not to blame for memory leaks is kind of like accusing a houseowner (the OS) for having a dirty house because they invited in a hobo who suddenly started flinging faeces at the walls (and they weren't able to kick them out before their IKEA beige walls had turned a darker shade of brown.

For all their solid, excelent code under OSX I have found any Cupertino code running on Win32 to be very much like the previously mentioned hobo... you only invite him into your house because someone had put a fancy suit on him, and he didn't commence poo flinging, or demanding all your processor and available memory 'just because' until you had gone to the kitchen to make tea.

Ah, gotta love those insane similies :)

Yay apple!

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Try

Media Monkey or DoubleTwist

I like media monkey a lot even if the interface is a bit 1990's it works well and syncs with almost anything.

DoubleTwist is OK but is a few months away from being a pleasurable experience (as opposed iTunes being several years away (with the windows version being a decade or so))

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Oh Yeah

Apple are complete wankers for deliberately breaking the connectivity, same as they are complete tosspots for constantly changing the database format (& encryption) for uploading music to iPods.

Surely I should be the person deciding which app I want to use on my machine, rather than being forced to use the pox ridden iToons

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bex

itunes bad

Itunes has the most clumsy UI in the world never mind bloatware its bolf on functions with no rime or reason ware.

As for the mactard above above blaiming windows for a piece of badly written software causing memory leaks he is just wrong.

I use a macbook and after it has been on a day or so the memory use goes up yo 2GB and regardless of what is running I can't get it back ths sounds like a memory leak to me

Itunes on windows is so bad quite a lot of the time breaks on the install, maybe its time Apple started from scratch internalised the playing software and not depend on quicktime being installed which is easily broken

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@Dana W

er no.

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Stop

Antitrust lawsuit anyone.

No better than dirty Microsoft on this one..

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Go

Pot Calling Kettle Black

iTunes is a vehicle for selling Apple hardware (iPods & iPhone).

The absence of a Palm equivalent only proves that Palm don't understand what makes the iPhone a success. It's not the compass, or the touch screen, or pinch-to-zoom. It's content availability and management; music, pictures, videos, applications, podcast...the lot.

By connecting to iTunes in the first place, at best they were competing with iPods. What does that say about the value of owning a Pre? Not much, if you ask me.

And saying "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" is an insult to their customers, who deserve a solution from the people they gave their money to, not from the people they're trying to compete with.

Pot calling kettle black.

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WTF?

@ Dana W

<quote>

Memory leaks are WINDOW'S fault, not iTunes.

</quote>

Nothing to do with Apple's shitty coding of the Windows iTunes application then?

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Stop

@Dana W

Errr... so Windows developers coded iTunes for the Windows platform? Somehow I doubt it...

Palm should've seen this coming and were a bit f**king stupid for getting the Pre to pretend to be an iPod. They're a big company, not a basement hack shop and really should have either licensed it or just developed their own/partnered with someone else.

However, the big question is why do people use iTunes? My music sits in folders according to artist and then album; the track info is all stored as metadata; and when I want to "sync" it up, I drag'n'drop via bluetooth, USB, wireless, or whatever. What advantage does iTunes have?

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FAIL

well...

...that's another reason for me not to use Apple products...

I don't have a Palm Pre (have one of there old Tungsten's though) but I can safely say that iTunes would not be the main reason for me buying one if I did.

Palm were naive to think that Apple (given plenty examples in the past) would ever consider cooperating with them.

Apple have given me yet another reason not to develop, use or recommend there products or services..

In summary:

Apple = Fail, Palm = Fail.

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