Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 13:25 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems We have a new chapter in the Palm Pre and iTunes saga. We all remember that the Pre could sync with iTunes, but that Apple wasn't particularly keen on this. The Cupertino company issued an iTunes which intentionally broke Pre syncing, but Palm retorted by re-enabling it not long after. Palm also sent a complaint to the USB Implementers Forum about Apple's behaviour, but the USB-IF squarely sides with Apple.
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Comment by VTPower
by VTPower on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 13:36 UTC
VTPower
Member since:
2007-04-06

The USB-IF ruled with some common sense. Yeah!

Reply Score: 2

seems like the right ruling
by jabbotts on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 13:59 UTC
jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

I have to agree with that ruling. Apple limiting iTunes connectivity to there own hardware products is a little scummy and sad that the public accepts this without question.

Palm spoofing another companies USB identification is just flat out wrong though. If I spoof a MAC address to appear as another computer avoiding network filtering; that's clearly unacceptable (assuming no prior permission for testing). Other than being a USB signal instead of network signal, Palm's actions are no different.

True though, this also means an ongoing hopscotch of soundbites for the marketing teams.

Reply Score: 4

RE: seems like the right ruling
by Tony Swash on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 14:31 UTC in reply to "seems like the right ruling"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Apple limiting iTunes connectivity to there own hardware products is a little scummy and sad.


Why is that scummy and sad? The whole of the Apple product design philosophy is based on tying hardware design very closely to software design so as to produce an unusually seamless experience for the user. This design philosophy is what underpins the attraction of Apple products to the consumer and hence the success of the company.

Why should Apple let the products of other companies, over which they have no control and whose quality could vary wildly, dilute and disturb the careful software/hardware harmony they have strived so hard to achieve. If Palm want to emulate the Apple iPhone/iTunes bundle fine - but they shouldn't try intrude into and disrupt the careful product ecosystems that Apple has created and then expect Apple to help them

Other companies have other design models. Microsoft for example writes software to run on any old combination of kit that a manufacturer cobbles together - this model has been very successful in the past but it seems to be less successful now, particularly in the new emerging mobile technology markets. Its telling that Microsoft has been drawn more and more into making its own hardware to run its software (Zune, xbox, etc) its just a shame that they seem to make such weak, mediocre, derivative crap from which they seem to make no profit at all. Its also telling that the Zune doesn't work with macs - luckily it doesn't matter.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: seems like the right ruling
by jabbotts on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 14:54 UTC in reply to "RE: seems like the right ruling"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

well, I do realize that I'm not the target customer for Apple's products.

I say scummy because they are limiting a media manager to a single portable player. "Sure, we'll sell you music but you have to install our music manager and you have to use our portable media player." It benefits Apple's shareholders much more than it's customers. This limitation is purely a political business decision versus an actual limitation of the technologies involved.

Accept for a few bad design choices, the iPhone is a very nice bit of hardware to be honest. I'd be hard pressed to turn one down and would even consider spending my own money on it if those decisions where reconsidered. The biggest thing I tripped over when activating one for a client; one must activate it by proving they have a Windows or osX machine with iTunes installed before it's of use though. This is not due to some limitation of the technology but a business decision to force the user's subscription to iTunes. This does not relate directly to the USB issue but it illustrates the same imposed brand loyalty.

I say Sad because the consumer public eats these products up blindly accepting crippled hardware. I wouldn't mind the consumer market getting what it deserves in the same way the US voting public get the government they deserve if the outcome of both votes didn't effect me as much. In terms of Apple, they have a business model including very strong strategy to lock customers in through barriers designed to limit consumer choice and it's sad that the consumers allow it to be such a successful model.

Allowing a consumer who's given Apple money through iTunes to connect a non Apple music player and load content does not dilute the apple experience. iTunes would not suddenly operate differently because it's attached to a none-Apple device.

I do agree that Palm should not spoof hardware identifications or go through other efforts to break the authentication between iWhatever and iTunes. That does not mean I have to accept Apple's decision to bind two naturally separate products together clearly limiting consumer choice.

The topic here isn't what other companies outside of Apple and Palm are doing.

I do feel that what Palm is doing is more wrong than what Apple is doing. And again, I realize I'm not Apple's target customer. Hopefully in a few months I'll be looking at the iPhone and N900 side by side for a close comparison.

Reply Score: 3

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Why do you have to use an iPod or other Apple product to play music from the iTunes store? Apple has removed the DRM from all iTunes music, any player that can play MP4/AAC (most of them on the market) can play iTunes music files now. However, I agree with the rest of your point and the restriction still applies to all other things purchased from the iTunes store such as videos and audiobooks (blame the movie industry and Amazon for those restrictions still being imposed).

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

That is actually one of the questions that came up over lunch today; what other portable media players sync with iTunes? Blackberry wrote there own sync app that draws from the iTunes managed media and that is fair. Palm is going about the same problem with the wrong solution.

One can also setup a second media manager or sync app pointing at the iTunes managed directory tree but then you risk two applications fighting over directory and file name formatting.

On Windows, I'd rather go MediaMonkey and Amarok cover's my needs on other platforms. Rsync means I can update my portable from anywhere with a network connection. I do have to support the Apple brand of devices though which means keeping up to date with those changes.

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

That is actually one of the questions that came up over lunch today; what other portable media players sync with iTunes?


No current ones, AFAIK. Some of Creative's older Nomad MP3 players could sync with iTunes, but those came out before the iPod.

Reply Score: 2

mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

Apple limiting iTunes connectivity to there own hardware products is a little scummy and sad that the public accepts this without question.


Apple aren't the only ones doing this - others have been doing this for years, even long before USB. Did HP scanners work with Canon scanner software? Same for digital cameras and printers. Some external hard drives - going back a number of years now - were even bundled with software that would only work with those drives. Some of those software packages also allowed you to access services or products that were limited to that software - especially packages offering photo printing and downloadable templates that you could purchase online - they only worked with that software / hardware combo.

Companies have been doing this for years - the difference here is that people don't like it because Apple have made a huge success of the iPod and ITMS, so all of a sudden it's scummy...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: seems like the right ruling
by WorknMan on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 16:31 UTC in reply to "RE: seems like the right ruling"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Why should Apple let the products of other companies, over which they have no control and whose quality could vary wildly, dilute and disturb the careful software/hardware harmony they have strived so hard to achieve.


There's a big difference between not supporting products of other companies interfacing with your stuff, and taking steps to actively prevent them from doing so. We had this same discussion on this site when they did the same thing to Real Networks.

I do agree that it's Apple's right to do this, but it's still scummy.

Reply Score: 3

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

The whole of the Apple product design philosophy is based on tying hardware design very closely to software design so as to produce an unusually seamless experience for the user.


That's all well and good - but tight integration between hardware and software doesn't automatically make it necessary to lock-out third-party software.

Why should Apple let the products of other companies, over which they have no control and whose quality could vary wildly, dilute and disturb the careful software/hardware harmony they have strived so hard to achieve.


By that reasoning, Apple shouldn't allow 3rd-party software to run on OS X at all. After all, many of those applications are the products of other companies, over which Apple has no control and whose quality could vary wildly, diluting and disturbing yada yada yada.

If Palm want to emulate the Apple iPhone/iTunes bundle fine - but they shouldn't try intrude into and disrupt the careful product ecosystems that Apple has created and then expect Apple to help them


When has anyone from Palm ever stated that they expect Apple to help them? There's a difference between actively helping someone - and simply refraining from hindering them, everything I've seen indicates that Palm would be happy with the latter.

Edited 2009-09-23 17:32 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: seems like the right ruling
by phoudoin on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 17:35 UTC in reply to "RE: seems like the right ruling"
phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

The whole of the Apple product design philosophy is based on tying hardware design very closely to software design so as to produce an unusually seamless experience for the user.


In your dream.
The whole of the Apple product design philosophy is on tying software with hardware (not the reverse) to sell *their* hardware.

There is numerous examples when end user experience was not as *unsually seamless* as they would expect from Apple.

I sometimes work under or develop for Mac OS X, but that the two reasons why I never bought myself any product from Apple.

The third one is Apple $1 = 1 euro policy. Same reason why I don't buy Nintendo products, too. Hello guys, if I could read currency trading table, you guys could too!...

Reply Score: 2

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

The whole of the Apple product design philosophy is based on tying hardware design very closely to software design so as to produce an unusually seamless experience for the user. This design philosophy is what underpins the attraction of Apple products to the consumer and hence the success of the company.


No, its to produce lockin and so increased sales. Then the marketing takes over and talks nonsense about how OSX relates differently to an Intel processor and a standard hard drive and graphics card and main board than some other OS. Integrated! Does that mean the drivers work? Or that the connectors fit?

This is what makes Apple an ethically challenged company, and what makes lots of us want to have nothing to do with it. OS, hardware, or the wonderfully integrated pair of them. Or iTunes either, integrated with the iPod or not.

Reply Score: 1

andydread Member since:
2009-02-02

Because if Apple gets Microsoft like market share then may god help us all. there would be no choice. Apple and the Apple's apologists would love to see us all forced to use apple products. You Apple apologists and trolls would love to see nothing but Apple products in the market place. I say SCREW Apple and the Apple trolls who jump and any chance to defend everything that Apple does yet scream when any other company does what Apple does. Its blatant hypocrisy. Its OK for apple to be anticompetitive but not OK for anyone else to do the same. Apple is a DRACONIAN company. The hate competition and you people are OK with their scummy practices.

Reply Score: 2

RE: seems like the right ruling
by FunkyELF on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 14:53 UTC in reply to "seems like the right ruling"
FunkyELF Member since:
2006-07-26

Apple limiting iTunes connectivity to there own hardware products is a little scummy and sad that the public accepts this without question.


Its not just Apple limiting iTunes. Its the thousands of 3rd party iPod extras... like my 2010 Camaro which only works with Zune / iPod. I am furious about it.

I don't use iTunes anyway.

Reply Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

That's the stinky foot in the other shoe; if you have an iThingy, you probably have to have iTunes installed to make it work even if you don't use the media manager after that. iPhone has all the needed features preinstalled including the App Store client yet you'll need to prove you have iTunes installed before you can get the device to a usable state.

For your car, is there not a stereo in jack you can use a mail to mail cable with? Not as slick as a docking station and PMP controls through the stereo nobs but it may be the best option. I've also seen good documentation on how to add your own line in jack if the system has the headers on the back of it.

Reply Score: 2

polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06

"Apple limiting iTunes connectivity to there own hardware products is a little scummy and sad that the public accepts this without question.


Its not just Apple limiting iTunes. Its the thousands of 3rd party iPod extras... like my 2010 Camaro which only works with Zune / iPod. I am furious about it.

I don't use iTunes anyway.
"

That's not Apple's fault, that's Chevy's fault. My Scion has an iPod connector and a regular aux jack that'll work with anything with a headphone jack. I've got my iPod Touch in one, my satellite radio in the other. Works out nicely.

Reply Score: 3

FunkyELF Member since:
2006-07-26

That's not Apple's fault, that's Chevy's fault. My Scion has an iPod connector and a regular aux jack that'll work with anything with a headphone jack. I've got my iPod Touch in one, my satellite radio in the other. Works out nicely.


Mine has a 3.5 aux mini plug as well, but then the controls on my steering wheel don't work. I'll have to take my eyes off the road to change songs. Not safe. Please for the sake of safety come up with a standard USB media interface that everyone can implement. Just a standard index file would work... then you wouldn't even need any smarts... just a thumb drive with an index file.

Reply Score: 6

polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06

Neat idea, but I won't hold my breath for it to happen.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by polaris20
by polaris20 on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 14:15 UTC
polaris20
Member since:
2005-07-06

Palm should be ashamed of themselves, as this also effects their customers as well, that were counting on this just working.

What Palm should have done when advertising how the Pre syncs with iTunes is just done as RIM did, and code a sync app that accesses iTunes' xml file. It works fine, as does The Missing Sync (which coincidentally will also work with the Pre).

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 14:26 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

Why didn't Palm from day one create libmtp support in Songbird, improved the interface and bundle it as 'Palm Player' or some other corny name. I can't help but see this whole fiasco as nothing more than a publicity stunt to raise their profile rather than anything genuine.

Reply Score: 5

For Thom H.
by nicoladagostino on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 14:35 UTC
nicoladagostino
Member since:
2006-08-11

Thom, there's a small typo in the first paragraph. It reads "Aple" lacking an "l". Feel free to delete this comment (oh, and by the way thanks for the great work you have been doing on OSNews). ;)

nda

Reply Score: 1

RE: For Thom H.
by Buck on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 15:08 UTC in reply to "For Thom H."
Buck Member since:
2005-06-29

Also, loose ≠ lose.
Anyway, what was clever on Rubinstein's part? This isn't clever at all.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: For Thom H.
by andrewg on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 21:35 UTC in reply to "RE: For Thom H."
andrewg Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't know if Rubenstein did lose. He may have achieved exactly what he set out to do. More people including journalists are made aware of Apple's closed freedom limiting mentality. Even if it is a small share of actual people who may someday choose between a Pre and an iPhone it is still a win.

And I am sure in a few months they will have their own app that can sync so the fact they can't sync right now won't be an issue then. They'll even be a feature on their feature list.

I don't see how he in lost in anything relevant to the companies success.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: For Thom H.
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 22:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: For Thom H."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

And I am sure in a few months they will have their own app that can sync so the fact they can't sync right now won't be an issue then. They'll even be a feature on their feature list.


The Pre can still sync. Just not with iTunes. The Pre is relatively open, you can even simply drag and drop content on there using your favourite file manager on any platform.

Reply Score: 1

Palm is being unprofessional.
by theTSF on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 15:30 UTC
theTSF
Member since:
2005-09-27

That is the point the make me sick of Palm. There just being so unprofessional about it and bending if not breaking a lot of ethical borders.

1. Taking Ex Apple Employees with inside knowlege of Apple to make the Pre.

2. Hacking there product to use iTunes without permission.

This is more then normal competition There is some big grudge match going on here, that Palm is taking very personally. And doing stupid stuff.

Reply Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Hiring ex employees is nothing new nor unethical as far as I see it. The software should be protected by copywrite and hardware by applicable patents. Remember that much of Apple's own early OS was done by hiring ex-staffers also.

But, the spoofing of device identifications and other work-arounds by Palm to imposed connectivity may go beyond reasonable reasons for reverse-engineering. There are also better way to achieve the same outcome rather than targeting the iTunes link so directly.

Reply Score: 3

gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

well, probably only the "direct" link to iTunes gives you ALL the features.

I DO have a problem with someone ACTIVELY hindering others without getting something from that action. I call such people bullies and do-no-goods.

Being nice would be a much better way to advertize oneself, than being a bully.

Reply Score: 3

Palm needs to stop the iTunes Sillyness...
by vondur on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 16:30 UTC
vondur
Member since:
2005-07-07

I would rather see them contribute to something open source like Banshee and use that for syncing and media management. I feel that Banshee has the most potential over something like Songbird which tries to do too much in my opinion. I know they have Mac versions of Banshee and supposedly have a Windows version nearly ready to go. If they could throw some support behind Banshee, everyone would benefit with a high quality music management app that is not controlled by Apple.

Reply Score: 3

FunkyELF Member since:
2006-07-26

I would rather see them contribute to something open source like Banshee and use that for syncing and media management. I feel that Banshee has the most potential over something like Songbird which tries to do too much in my opinion. I know they have Mac versions of Banshee and supposedly have a Windows version nearly ready to go. If they could throw some support behind Banshee, everyone would benefit with a high quality music management app that is not controlled by Apple.


As I said above...I feel that Palm is doing it more for the countless accessories than for iTunes.

Reply Score: 2

hmm
by TechGeek on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 18:34 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

Are you sure Blackberry didnt buy a license? I ask because I have a 3rd or 4th gen ipod. Apple has continuously messed with the open source world by changing the database that sits on the ipod. First they just would change the order. Then they encrypted it. So I will no longer support Apple. They just wont get my money again.

Reply Score: 2

Both are wrong...
by spinnekopje on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 20:48 UTC
spinnekopje
Member since:
2008-11-29

No company should ever use another ones vendor_id or pretend to be another device. Palm is wrong on that one for me.

Preventing a device from working with your software isn't productive in my opinion and might also affect your own users. I think I would try other software, but keep using the Palm pre. If more users are like me...

Personally I would advise Palm to use its own vendor_id and Apple to open up iTunes to other devices, but keep syncing very basic and create extras that only work with iPods.

To make it clear, I don't have or use any of the devices/software we're talking about.

Reply Score: 1

benir0
Member since:
2006-07-26

I agree with the ruling in the purely technical sense. However, buying into an Apple system that locks you in and others out isn't my idea of the future of computing. The vote that my dollars represent will go elsewhere.

Reply Score: 1

USB
by 3rdalbum on Thu 24th Sep 2009 01:48 UTC
3rdalbum
Member since:
2008-05-26

Any organisation that deals with USB should be giving Apple a slap on the wrist for not using USB Mass Storage on their MP3 players for music transfer.

If everyone ignored UMS, what horrid world it would be.

Reply Score: 3