Truth be told, we weren’t really at all surprised five days ago to find that webOS 1.2 lacked the ability to sync with iTunes, you know, considering that Palm had just been reprimanded by the USB Implementers Forum for its vendor ID shenanigans. Late last night/early this morning Palm pushed out webOS 1.2.1, though, and guess whaaaaat? iTunes syncing is back. Palm is quite coy to downplay the significance of the move by saying that webOS 1.2.1 “resolves an issue preventing media sync from working with latest version of iTunes (9.0.1)” but the reality of the situation is that Palm has firmly cemented its position as Chief Crap Disturber of the smartphone world. After all, there really isn’t a need to put up such a stink about iTunes syncing seeing as practically any phone can sync with iTunes, but we do concede there is nothing quite like out of the box support. We could go on and on for ages about this, but we’ll spare you the lecture because its the weekend. Corporate users will be pleased to note that the new software fixes that major bug that stopped Exchange 2007 from, well, Exchanging and everyone will be happy that Palm finally realized that optimizing photos for ones device is a good thing. So, Pre users, what’s the verdict on 1.2.1?
Just a quick heads up to those of you that are running with the Palm Pre — webOS 1.2 has been officially released and is now available for download. Bug fixes make up the majority of the changes, but new features include the ability to purchase apps (which has yet to go live) and the ability to download tracks from Amazon over Sprint’s EV-DO network as opposed to nothing but Wi-Fi. Has iTunes syncing returned? We doubt it, but we’re still waiting for our army of Pres to boot up. Until then…
UPDATE: Just like we thought, iTunes syncing is not working.
It was no mystery that when Apple issued a recent statement regarding unsupported third-party devices claiming to support iTunes sync, it had Palm squarely in its sights. Apple’s position on the matter:
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.
In other words, Apple will likely find a way to kill Palm’s workaround and prevent the Pre from syncing with iTunes. Palm spokesperson Lynn Fox’s response:
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.
It looks like Palm isn’t going to publicly state that it’s prepared to play a cat and mouse game with Apple — issuing firmware updates with workarounds each time Apple kills the functionality — but we wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly what ends up happening. Instead, Palm is going with the Apple hates you unless you buy Apple products argument; a solid position, albeit useless. In any event, don’t start crying on your Pre just yet as there are a few other options when it comes to getting iTunes music on your webOS wonder.