So, you thought this whole tug of war over iTunes synchronisation was over, right? The USB Implementers Forum slapped Palm in the face, and exonerated Apple from any wrongdoing. The thing is though, the USB-IF is pretty much a powerless organisation, so Palm tossed them aside, and fixed webOS iTunes sync in webOS 1.2.1.
The USB Implementers Forum slapped Palm on the wrist for the company’s misuse of the vendor_id, while at the same time acquitting Apple from any accusations of misuse of the USB standard to lock non-Apple devices out of iTunes. However, while the USB-IF may seem like an all-powerful organisation, it’s in fact completely and utterly powerless. All it can do is prevent Palm from using the USB logo.
Big deal, thought Palm, while working hard to re-enable iTunes Media Sync for the webOS. They released version 1.2.1 of their brand new mobile platform today, and it includes iTunes Media Sync. “Resolves an issue preventing media sync from working with latest version of iTunes (9.0.1),” the release note state dryly.
Palm has taken it all a step further, as webOS 1.2.1 can now not only sync music to iTunes, but it can also sync photos through iTunes to either iPhoto (Mac) or Adobe Photoshop Elements (PC/Mac).
So, how did Palm go about fixing iTunes Media Sync this time? Well, it’s all quite simple. Not only does webOS 1.2.1 pretend to be an iPod sold by Apple – it now also pretends being manufactured by the Cupertino gadget maker. Mind, though, that these settings are only used when the webOS is connected in Media Sync mode.
Let’s see how long these guys are going to keep this up. So far, it’s all been relatively simple for both parties, but I think if Apple is really serious about this, they will have to make major changes to iTunes without breaking anything else. On top of that, despite what you hear on many Mac-centric websites, the webOS does not rely on iTunes at all; the Pre is a relatively open device, and can sync with Windows Media Player, DoubleTwist, MediaMonkey, and even plain old drag and drop. iTunes is just one name in a long list.
Of course, this whole little charade increasingly looks like two young girls taking turns pulling each other’s ponytails over who gets to play with the My Little Pony. The USB-IF is the exhausted mother of eight who just can’t be bothered to do anything about it.
webOS 1.2.1 also fixes a number of other issues found in 1.2.0, such as the rather massive Exchange breakage, so it’s a very welcome update for Pre (and Pixi?) owners out there. Oh and Palm, when can I get a Pre here in The Netherlands? I’m already shaking my fist at Dell for refusing to sell Ubuntu netbooks here, and since my other fist is used to hold my own My Little Pony, I don’t have a fist left to shake at you.