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Palm's webOS 1.2.1 restores iTunes sync again

updated 11:25 am EDT, Sat October 3, 2009

Palm webOS 1.2.1 fixes iTunes, Exchange

Palm today quietly circumvented Apple's protective measures again with webOS 1.2.1. Its second update in a week is the first to restore iTunes syncing for the Pre since iTunes 8.2 and will let the Pre take media from iTunes 9.0.1 as though it were a native device in the jukebox software. It even adds deeper integration and will now sync photo albums as well as lower-resolution versions that save space on the phone.

The update confirms rumors of the update coming next week and, potentially, that restoring sync is still easy. Palm's 1.1 update came quickly as the company reportedly only had to spend five minutes changing the vendor ID, but the steps Apple took to block the Pre from iTunes 9 may have only needed 2.5 hours to defeat. If true, Palm will continue to update webOS to maintain sync until it takes more than 40 man-hours of effort to add the feature back.

Apple has never brought up the possibility of legal action regarding iTunes sync but has repeatedly made clear that it will break compatibility with non-Apple devices when possible.

Beyond media, the webOS fix also addresses a problem with Exchange 2007 contacts, mail and other data not syncing properly with Palm's phones, problems starting an audio or video stream on the web, and a developer-only security issue.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bazaarsoft

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I wouldn't buy a Pre even if it were better than the other Smartphones - if Palm would rather spend engineering resources trying to illegally break into iTunes rather than building their own product (which could access iTunes content legally), then I have no reason but to believe that they have such management deficiencies that they're not likely to be a viable company for long.

  1. cyn1c

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why are they teasing Apple like this when Apple has made it possible for them to sync with iTunes in other ways that are not blocked? All this is doing is being annoying for Pre owners and causing both companies to waste money on useless cat and mouse games... the expense is then passed on to the consumers.

  1. GruvDOne

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Lazy & Incompetent

    How else do you describe it? It is just unbelievable to me the lack of ethics that are being displayed by Palm here. I mean, other smartphone vendors - RIM specifically - have gone about this the correct way. By using the API's that Apple provides to create their own application that facilitates syncing with one's iTunes library. Are the developers at Palm incapable of doing the same? Why do they feel the need to mooch of another company's hard work?

    I don't usually say things like this, but I really do hope Palm completely fails as a company. They've worn out their welcome, as far as I am concerned.

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I see a lawsuit from Apple and the USB group

    Palm could end up losing the right to use the USB logo and/or potentially face fines.

  1. macslut

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give it up Palm

    While it may only take 2 hours in resources or whatever to regain compatibility, it doesn't help the user who needs to sync to a new version of iTunes but can't because it takes days/weeks for the software to actually be released.

    Using the standard APIs to sync with iTunes is one option, another would be to just develop your own software, and possibly the best option would be to go with DoubleTwist.

    But this strategy is clearly the wrong message, especially given the finding from the USB group.

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If they are spending two hours, I would not trust

    Did they bother doing any regression tests? Do they have a proper QA process?

    Wouldn't it be faster to just write a sync agent once rather than trying to fix the hack multiple times?

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What is it that these people don't understand? Every other phone manufacturer has their own sync software - why do they feel the need to cheat?

    One of my student workers has a Pre, and it ain't that great of a phone.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    On the other hand...

    1. Their actions are not illegal.

    2. Their actions are not immoral.

    3. Why won't Apple just let folks sync to iTunes directly? I have an iPhone and an iPod Photo, but I also have a Sony Walkman A818. I would like to sync them up directly. This support would ingratiate me MORE towards Apple. But, for them to lock everyone else out (MS Zune is also just as bad) does nothing to get customers to appreciate Apple.

    4. Why allow Palm (and others) to use iTunes? Because it make it EASIER to suck them into the iTunes ecosystem. If they have easy access to the system, then they will more like to buy music since it could be directly synced to their devices. Not everyone will buy an iPod, but more people WOULD use the iTunes store if this were possible without silly workarounds.

    5. Why does everyone seem to be so upset about this? Why do so many folks wish to keep iTunes locked up AWAY from more potential customers? Yes, I can use Sony Content Transfer (using the Apple API) to allow drag/drop from iTunes to my A818, but WHY??? I may use it, but other people (ie potential customers) might not want to deal with the hassle.

    6. I think this is more about fanboyism and BS protectionist nonsense than anything else. That mentality cost Sony the digital music market (to Apple) a few years ago. Hey, Apple...your own hubris can take you down....use your common sense.

  1. Palmista

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @ On the other hand

    1. While not illegal as such their actions are sleazy and cheap.

    2. Their actions most definitely are immoral, as well as unethical.

    3. Apple does not prevent companies from accessing the iTunes XML file. Read the article for more info--then read it again, slowly, practicing your comprehension.

    4. iPods bring users into the iTunes ecosystem--Apple sells iPods. It is their own ecosystem. They are under no obligation to support competitors' products. That's why competitors are called "competitors."

    5. People are not upset so much as bemused, amazed, and perplexed by the behaviour of a truly desperate company trying desperately to leach off the success of an innovative, dedicated, _successful_ company.

    6. This is not fanboyism and BS protectionist nonsense. It's about one company protecting itself--legitimately and legally--from the illegitimate actions of another. Apple develops its own software/hardware combination, and has every right to safeguard them from what amounts to IP theft.

    7. You, sir, are a fool, or a troll, or a foolish troll.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iTunes' Purpose

    iTunes was developed to allow iPods (and now iPhones) to synch with computers. It was never intended to be used with non-Apple products. Let Palm develop their own synch software like everybody else.

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