How Palm webOS Works

Controversy with Apple

One of Palm's key features, an attribute that made it even more appealing to some, was its ability to sync with iTunes. It didn't take long for Apple to come out with an iTunes update that rendered the feature useless. Apple, a notoriously hyper-proprietary company, took less than a month to come out with the update along with this statement:

"Apple designs the hardware and software to provide seamless integration of the iPhone and iPod with iTunes, the iTunes Store, and tens of thousands of apps on the App Store. 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 [source: Apple]."

Palm made the next move when it issued the webOS 1.1 update in July 2009. This time, webOS tricked iTunes into thinking the Pre was an iPod classic, thus allowing it to sync seamlessly [source: Arya]. But that's not the end of the story.

In September 2009, Apple released iTunes 9. Again, the backdoor created by Palm was shut. So what did Palm do? You guessed it, the company released WebOS 1.2 that re-enabled syncing. As of this writing, Apple's sync fix has yet to re-emerge.

The two companies have drawn clearly decisive lines. In the Apple camp, you have the intellectual property argument, by which the company means the unauthorized use of iTunes. On the other hand, Palm says, essentially, that if people have paid for content, they should be able to access it regardless of what platform they use to access it. Palm owners can also choose not to upgrade to iTunes 9. Those who are using iTunes 8.2.1 can still sync their Pres with webOS 1.1.

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