The Palm Pre allows users to transfer music and video from their PC or Mac with Apple’s iTunes desktop software — just like an iPhone or iPod — but Apple has warned that this feature could go away in future versions.
Palm has not licensed the iTunes software, and the Palm Pre’s ability to masquerade as an iPod for the purposes of iTunes synchronization is not authorized by Apple.
Yesterday, Apple posted this statement on its website:
Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players and, because software changes over time, newer versions of Apple’s iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with non-Apple digital media players.
A Software Arms Race?
It’s not clear at this point if Apple’s statement is a sign that it plans to modify future versions of the iTunes desktop software deliberately to prevent the Palm Pre from making use of it.
If it does so, it’s possible Palm will try to develop updated software to re-enable this function. This could lead to a tit-for-tat series of software releases between the two companies, who already don’t have a warm relationship.
UPDATE: PALM Responds
Palm has responded to Apple’s statement. A company spokesperson told Digital Daily:
“Palm’s media sync works with the current version of iTunes. If Apple chooses to disable media sync in a future version of iTunes, it will be a direct blow to their users who will be deprived of a seamless synchronization experience. However, people will have options. They can stay with the iTunes version that works to sync their music on their Pre, they can transfer the music via USB, and there are other third-party applications we could consider.”