Yesterday we reported that the Palm Pre will have the ability to sync with iTunes, and now we have a little bit more information as to how it all works. In a recent blogpost, Jon Johansen, who might be better known as DVD John, described what Palm is most likely doing to trick iTunes into thinking that an attached Pre device is actually an iPod.
So how has Palm most likely enabled the Pre to sync directly with iTunes? By doing the following:
- When you select “Media Sync” on the Pre, it will switch its USB interface to use Apple’s Vendor Id and the Product Id for a specific iPod model
- The Pre exposes a filesystem through Mass Storage Class that mimics the structure of an iPod
- The Pre responds to Apple’s custom USB command and returns XML info about the device
That’s all well and good, but seeing that Apple can easily block the ability of the Pre to sync with iTunes with subsequent software updates, giving the Pre that ability in the first place seems terribly shortsighted.
In a Palm Press release, it writes that the Pre is “Compatible with iTunes 8.1.1 on Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS X version 10.3.9-10.5.7.“ Note how the Pre is compatible with the Mac OS all the way back to Panther, but only works with 1 version of iTunes. Interesting.
The success of the iPhone highlighted how important the user experience is, and this whole Pre/iTunes situation will ultimately hurt the user experience for Palm Pre users.
What happens when Palm Pre users accustomed to using iTunes to sync up content to their Pre suddenly discover that iTunes no longer recognizes their device? Will Palm and Apple then get involved in a cat-and-mouse game where each side continuously issues software updates in attempts to stifle the actions of the other? What a horrible situation for users to get stuck in the middle of, and it makes absolutely zero sense that Palm would subject its users to that.