Apparently 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.