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Palm Pre Update Re-Unlocks iTunes Sync

Gordon Kelly by

Major Palm Pre Update Re-Unlocks iTunes Sync

Palm has announced a major update for webOS/the Pre and it is likely to set off a new game of cat and mouse with Apple...

The release notes for 'webOS 1.1.0' (a significant jump given previous firmwares were 1.0.2, 1.0.3 and 1.04) point out a single line which is likely to have Cupertino up in arms:

"Resolves an issue preventing media sync from working with latest version of iTunes (8.2.1)"

This 'issue' counters the iTunes 8.2.1 'issue' which Apple described as "addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices" - yes, cue tongue in cheek semantics and the stage is set for a serious manufacturer head to head. The Palm exploit is simple too: fool iTunes into thinking the Palm Pre is an iPod and you can then happily synchronise music and playlists using the virtually ubiquitous software. It's a major selling point for a company looking to wrestle users away from the iPhone.

Expect an Apple repost soon, but curiously why does Apple do nothing to stop RIM's BlackBerry Media Sync which enables exactly the same thing?

Elsewhere webOS 1.1.0 offers a whole host of updates including new web browser gestures (swipe left to right in the gesture area to more forward through web pages), improved reminder notifications, icon tweaks, emoticon support, remote wiping in EAS, better Facebook contact synchronisation, wider time zone support and faster overall system performance. An 'NFL Mobile Live' app has been added too for Sprint customers but that's unlikely to have any relevance to the O2 Palm Pre handset we'll be getting in Blighty before the end of the year.

Your turn Apple...


webOS 1.1.0 Features List

Go to comments


July 24, 2009, 8:29 pm

Palm Pre is on pre order on handtec for £399.99 sim free!

I e-mailed them with regards to a release date and they said they expect to have them at the end of august


July 24, 2009, 8:34 pm


Sorry... couldn't think of anything mature to say!


July 24, 2009, 8:59 pm

well, it sounds to me a very very cheap step from Palm. Apple clearly has warned Palm by stating pre as 'unaothorised device', then what else do you need to know to get your hands off iTune? Palm managed to make a good product, then I would expect them to come up with an innovative media player app to comepete with iTune.

On the other hand, whether BB has agreed with Apple or not to allow BB devices to sync with iTune is not known to me. As BB has more market share than Apple, it makes sense to allow BB customers to use iTune.


July 24, 2009, 9:05 pm

@xbrumster - I'd counter: RIM's bigger market share makes it a greater iPhone rival so it would be even MORE important for Apple to cut off its advantage than Palm.

Nick Hustak

July 24, 2009, 9:35 pm

Apple has not 'clearly' done anything. They are afraid to make it any more clearer - just like the vague threats on the touch screen never amounted to squat. Make some threats and hope they back down - because the last thing they want is to actually end up in court on some of this stuff.

iTunes..*yawn* anyway.


July 24, 2009, 10:39 pm

@Gordon, I think Apple's allowance for BB devices is to mock BB customers to use iTunes & spend on their products and services. You see RIM is a strong and well established mobile firm, and Apple is working very hard to get the iphone family more appealing towards business mobs and persuade existing BB gangs to jump on the iphone/ipod bandwagon, so to get more proportion of the smartphone market, to undercut RIM's leading position. There is nothing for Apple to lose for allowing it.

On the other hand, Palm's pre is a device which may undercut the sale of iphone as pre is targeting the same audience and in certain areas more appealing than iphone. Also the profit from selling a phone is more lucrative than selling music on iTunes. Makes a lot of sense to me to cut it off...

cut it off.. cut off... cut off....


July 24, 2009, 10:48 pm


yeah, like its not hard enough breaking into the intensely competitive smartphone market without having to produce your own media organizer/player to rival what is certainly the most prevalent if not necessarily the best on the market.

Plenty of other devices sync to iTunes, including some MP3 players, so why pick on Palm?

Simply using iTunes means that you are likely to be buying music, vids ect through it, which apple makes money out of. Why should it matter too much what you put that music on?

Let the iPhone and its competitors battle over price, usability, features, ect, not over little stuff like this!


July 24, 2009, 11:01 pm

Good for you Palm!


July 24, 2009, 11:14 pm

I think Spotify should launch on the Pre first... just a thought.


July 24, 2009, 11:57 pm

Anybody else aware that WinAmp can sync music to almost anything, INCLUDING iPods and iPhones? It even includes a format converter (highlight track, right click, "send to: format converter" and choose your codec) so you can have a library of FLAC and not need to have copies in AAC/MP3/OGG as you can transcode on the fly onto your portable...


July 25, 2009, 12:48 am

If the Palm Pre is sim-free, would it be possible to put a 3 PAYG sim card in and take advantage of the £5 unlimited internet a month? Would any features be crippled by not being with O2?


July 25, 2009, 1:57 am

Hmmmmmmm. I think the fact that Apple's former senior vice president of their iPod division, Jon Rubenstein is now the current executive chairman of the board at Palm in addition to people such as Chuq Von Rospach, who worked at Apple for several years on various Unix projects and has been hired by Palm to be the Developer Community Manager has created a touch of resentment in Apple's camp. Especially considering the fact Palm have developed a phone and OS to compete directly with the iphone market.

Palm have even gone as far as infringing on certain Apple patents like the much discussed multi-touch. However, as far as I'm aware Palm hold a few patents on certain features used on the iphone and goes some way into explaining why Apple have been reluctant to bring any action against Palm.

Seems like a bitter Apple that doesn't want to share the cream that makes it sweeter!


July 25, 2009, 2:52 am

Brilliant! Talk about giving Apple the finger! Hilarious!


July 25, 2009, 4:58 am

Go Palm go!


July 25, 2009, 8:58 am

Can't wait to read the description on Apple's next iTunes update. The last one was hilarious.


July 25, 2009, 7:21 pm

Fair play to Palm. But personally I consider it a shame that a manufacturer considers it a selling point that their device works with iTunes; it simply encourages people to stick with iTunes over other and frankly better software (see ChaosDefinesOrder's comment).


July 25, 2009, 7:56 pm

@ eyewonder

Either company filing lawsuits is highly unlikely, as it would be mutually assured destruction (and a major reason of why the patent system is in desperate need of an overhaul), because for as many patents Apple owns that Palm is probably infringing upon, Palm holds many many more that cover basic functionality in the iPhone (they've been in the phone game much longer and have therefore been hoarding phone patents for much longer). And since both companies have the legal clout to be able to effectively nullify all of the patents the other has (as most are obvious/widespread by now anyway) they really want to avoid a lawsuit so they can continue using these patents to subdue any competition from small start ups without the money to defend themselves in court.


July 26, 2009, 3:33 pm


The issue is not about iTunes being a good (or bad) product - it's about content and the consumer.

iTunes is retailer of media content and in that context it's a whole different ball game from one of protecting software/proprietary devices.

If a consumer makes purchases from iTunes, why should they then be restricted to playing them on Apple devices - could you even contemplate buying a CD and only being able to play it on a single manufacturers players.

It's plain that huge numbers of peoples media is managed by iTunes purely down to their market dominance. Trying to restrict that content from being used on devices other than those made by Apple (even if only doing so by making it very inconvenient to do otherwise) is an abuse of that market position.

However good Apples products are their restrictive pactices suck.


July 27, 2009, 8:36 am

expanding on the point made by stewart above. quite a few artists have now signed exclusive deals with the itunes store leaving their fans with no alternative outlet to purchase from. and given the sub par sound quality of apples devices its even more of a pressing urgency

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