Did anyone use iTunes with their Palm Pre?

palmitunesnoteupinhereApparently in a bid to create a newsworthy conflict, everyone and their brother reported that Apple has “dissed” Palm by breaking the ability of iTunes to sync with non-iPods, including the Palm Pre, via the latest 8.2.1 update to iTunes. Given that Apple did not officially support sync with non-iPods, this certainly isn’t surprising. But more importantly, I didn’t think relying on iTunes for music sync was a good idea to begin with.

First, obviously relying on a loophole in a third-party app is not the smartest move, particularly when you’re competing directly against that party. At the very least, you shouldn’t advertise that fact and taunt your competition into closing that loophole.

Second, syncing the Palm Pre via iTunes was pretty limited to begin with. No DRM’d music, no video, no apps, no photos, none of the other syncing that an iPod or iPhone uses. The only real advantage was using your existing playlists and the convenience of not having to use another application. But, let’s face it, iTunes is a big bulky piece of software. A lighter, simple sync app that reads the iTunes XML file to copy playlists would deliver the same results with less overhead. And you could still fire up iTunes for music management and just use the sync tool to pick the playlists to copy over.

Finally, how many people did this actually affect? I know iTunes is popular, but the tight binding of the iTunes ecosystem deters people from defecting. I’m sure there are several people bummed by this news, but probably not enough to make this that big a deal. I feel for those who are affected, but quite frankly, I don’t think iTunes was the best sync solution for you in the first place, and hopefully this will prompt Palm to deliver a light, simple media sync tool.

Update: jkOnTheRun runs down three alternatives to straight iTunes sync, though regretfully none conveniently grab your playlists.

Alleged Apple fanboi, accused Android apologist, and confirmed Microsoft MVP for touch and tablet Mark Sumimoto a.k.a. Sumocat dabbles in all areas of mobile computing with a focus on Windows-based Tablet PCs and pen input. A mobile computing enthusiast since 2004, he pioneered the field of ink blogging via his personal blog, Sumocat's Scribbles. His current tools include a Fujitsu Lifebook T900, TEGA v2, and iPhone 4. Email: sumocat [at] notebooks.com


  1. Nice spin. If it were Microsoft specifically denying Apple access to some popular technology they control, Apple zealots would be up in arms. But as usual, when Apple does something anti-competitive, these same hypocrites make excuse after excuse for it.

  2. iTunes on Windows is quite unreliable at managing music on an iPod – I’ve gotten intermittent hangs when trying to sync, and finally solved the problem by choosing the “Manually manage music and videos” option (lots of people must have this problem). Who would want to use iTunes to manage music on a device that Apple understands even less?

  3. Is it anti-competitive that you can’t sync your iPhone using Palm Desktop? Has Apple prevented Palm from writing their own syncing app for the Pre? And since when has Sumocat been considered an Apple zealot?

    Glass houses. Stones. Look it up.

  4. Raymond: What do you mean “if”? Microsoft ended PlaysForSure, which they licensed to third-parties, then introduced Zune, which they strictly limited to its own ecosystem. Microsoft got paid for support then cut it off when they entered the PMP market. To me, that sounds a lot worse than closing a loophole, but I didn’t rage against that either.

  5. @Sumocat, I agree with you 100% on this one… it’s just a lame idea to use iTunes for music sync in the first place. It was a gimmick and nothing more.

  6. As an Mac person myself, I thought it was crappy that apple made it impossible for Palm Pre users to sync with iTunes. That would be like Microsoft making it impossible for me to install and run Windows on my mac…wait that would be worse.

  7. I’m not sure, but I don’t see Microsoft opening up the Zune software to iPods. What apple did was totally appropriate. It’s their software btw the way. We just get a license to use it. The devices they choose to support is up to them.

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