How Palm Got the Pre to Sync With iTunes

How Palm Got the Pre to Sync With iTunes

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Palm announced yesterday that its new phone, the Pre, will sync seamlessly with Apple iTunes. If you read the press release carefully you will note that Palm requires a specific version of iTunes.

(2) Compatible with iTunes 8.1.1 on Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS X version 10.3.9-10.5.7

This is because Palm has included iTunes functionality without cooperation or approval from Apple. Notice that Palm’s iTunes demo says “Syncing iPod” instead of “Syncing Pre”.

Jon Lech Johansen for nanocr.eu explains how this would work:
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So how is Palm doing this? It’s pretty simple, really. We’ll start with the most basic question that doesn’t even involve the Pre: To a PC, what’s the difference between an iPod and a Kingston memory stick? The iPod has a specific USB Vendor Id that identifies it as being an Apple product and a USB Product Id that identifies it as being a specific iPod model. In addition, the iPod’s filesystem has a specific folder and file structure. Modern iPods also respond to a custom USB command that returns an XML file with information about the device.

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
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Its likely that Apple will simply upgrade iTunes to distinguish between a Pre and an iPod and then block the Pre. This could still serve Palm well as they will receive additional press coverage and Apple could be perceived as the bad guy.

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How Palm Got the Pre to Sync With iTunes
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dt
dt - May 29, 2009 at 2:32pm
My God. This is not a major event. I have been syncing my Nokia to iTunes for about 2 years. This is a non-story
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