Apple, the loving Earth-friendly company that promotes harmony and peace in the world through smarter computing, decided to play hardball with a rival hardware manufacturer in the phone market. In a not-so-friendly and peaceful business maneuver, Apple released an update to the iTunes software that altogether blocks the Palm Pre smart phone (positioned as an iPhone competitor) from accessing the online store or syncing with playlists.
An Apple spokesman said that its online music and video content library now “disables devices falsely pretending to be iPods.” Prior to the update, the Palm Pre was able to access iTunes. What was unclear was how Palm was accomplishing this task with the Pre and if it had legal permission from Apple to do so. Palm spoke about the issue in a statement by spokesperson Lynn Fox, who said, “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.”
Previous versions of iTunes and phones that are not upgraded to the latest edition of the software on their Palm Pre continue to be compatible. Specifically, the Palm Pre will not sync when plugged into a computer if the new version of iTunes (8.2.1 or greater) is installed. Apple has signaled that it would not support third-party mp3 players; however, the speed at which threats were followed through without warning caught many in the industry by surprise.
Although the Palm Pre was released amid huge fanfare as a potential iPhone killer, it sold just tens-of-thousands of units in June. In comparison, the new iPhone 3G S sold millions of units during its opening weekend release.
There is another workaround being reported by PCWorld.com that involves a third-party application called Salling Media Sync, which will sync an iTunes play list with a mobile device. This application is free for its basic use.
The Palm Pre has received positive reviews from various media outlets, with the webOS operating system being noted for its abilities and ease-of-use. Currently, online poker rooms have not released real-money applications for either the Palm Pre or iPhone due to the high restrictions on software releases. Cake Poker, among others, has developed a real-money cell phone application that works on the Microsoft Mobile operating system and is available for free.
As Apple becomes more restrictive with its iTunes technology, many believe that a large legal battle will ensue due to its high grasp of the online music market, which approaches a monopoly. Since the company will only support devices manufactured by Apple, many believe that the company is only exposing itself more to a potential lawsuit. In the meantime for Palm Pre owners, downgrading the software or not upgrading iTunes appear to be the only ways to keep devices syncing with iTunes. The alternative is to use unofficial third party software solutions, but regardless, Apple has sent a strong message to the rest of the tech industry.