Palm’s announcement that the Pre will sync directly with iTunes has attracted plenty of attention in the last few days. The whole kerfuffle stems from the way the Pre achieves iTunes compatibility. By using Apple’s USB vendor ID and a USB device ID, the Pre is able to trick iTunes into thinking it is in fact an iPod, even being listed as one when connected to iTunes.
But it’s not even that duplicity that is causing all the fuss – it’s the fact that Palm is actively advertising the Pre’s compatibility with iTunes, suggesting to the layperson that the Pre’s iTunes support is sanctioned by Apple. The truth is Apple is likely to be less than impressed a Pre would presume to call itself an iPod and will most likely release an iTunes update to disable the Pre’s media sync ability.
That hasn’t happened with the latest iTunes 8.2 update, with sources reporting that music syncing with the Pre still works, but it’s almost a certainly only a matter of time before Apple releases an update and suddenly Palm are faced with a lot of unhappy customers. Sure, Palm have included some fine print specifying which version of iTunes and which OS X version the Pre’s media sync feature operates on. Although that might cover Palm legally, (might – I’m no lawyer), it definitely won’t cover the bad press and customer backlash they’ll inevitably face once a heavily advertised feature is broken.
After that it’s likely to be Palm and Apple trading update and counter-update, a legal stoush, or both. Makes you wonder if it’s all worth it or whether Palm was looking for a fight anyway. Things could be about to get interesting.