A blogger by the name of Jon Lech Johanson has released a small snippit of (presumably) Pre code which tells, in layman’s terms, iTunes that it is an iPod while in their recently announced “Media Sync” mode.
What does this mean for you?
Well, it means that current versions of iTunes will indeed sync with the Pre — Until Apple pushes out an update to iTunes to block this, as it inevitably will. The sync technology taht they use is, like all Apple technologies, held very close to their company and they are really a fan of the Walled Garden philosophy of software design (we will provide you with approved software for your iPod, approved software for your media sync, and these will only run on approved hardware.) They will change the technology used in the sync on their products, push it out in a iPhone upgrade and an iTunes upgrade, and make it impossible for the Pre to use this Media Sync Feature.
It also entails negative effects on open source applications with the ability to sync to the iPod, such as RhythmBox and Amarok. These tools rely on the standard method of sync that has been reveresed and changing these sync methods will break existing software, if these updates are pushed to the devices.
What does this mean for Palm?
Apple won’t sue The Big Orange over this, in my opinion. Unless there is more code than what Jon originally posted, mimicking a “trade secret” or patented sync method, there is little grounds for anything else that would stand up in court. Sure Palm used iPod values in standard USB descriptors in place of their own, but that is in no way patent infringing or in any way illegal.
The question is not the legal ramifications, but the egg that’s going to be splattered on their face when Apple decides to do something to break this “feature” that Palm has announced as supported and hyped. People buying the phone expecting it to sync flawlessly and JustWork will be disappointed, and Palm will get ever more bad PR.
Just what it needs.
What do you think Apple will do? Will their suits be banging on Palm’s door, or will their sync finally be set free by Big Orange?