Palm Pre could masquerade as iPod to work with iTunes

palm_pre.jpg

John Gruber writes that if the Palm Pre’s iTunes compatibility is achieved by circumventing Apple’s hardware lockouts, it would be “unbecoming” and “duplicitous.

Hardly, unless you’re prepared to accept the recasting of shaky legal doctrines–the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions–as moral principles. Remember the attempts of Lexmark and Chamberlain to prevent generic printer ink and garage door openers? They believed that the DMCA meant that competitors couldn’t defeat hardware locks to make products compatible with their own. It’s a legal artifice, and in those cases, even the courts didn’t buy it.

So why should you? Why shouldn’t Palm circumvent Apple’s consumer-restricting locks, if it can? This isn’t DRM hacking, such as Real attempted a few years ago: it is merely the Palm Pre convincing iTunes that it’s an approved device. Palm says it will work only to sync DRM-free music.

Gruber thinks Palm “could be faced with the public perception that they’ve stolen Apple’s IP.” But the “Intellectual Property” at hand is just an arbitrary mechanism contrived to prevent the bleeding obvious: copying files from one computer to another. Describing such mechanisms as “property” in the first place is why most people shouldn’t trust the relevant portions of the DMCA: they’re there to limit what you can do with the products you buy.

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com

 

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23 Responses to Palm Pre could masquerade as iPod to work with iTunes

  1. Rob Beschizza says:

    If Palm isn’t sure they can keep it working, “stupid” might be a better term it, given what happened to Real/Harmony!

  2. Cheap car insurance says:

    I think this palm’s version is less stylish and modern than it should have been. I would prefer if the model is more simple and the shape is more chic, just like what i am using at the moment. By the way, here is my website: car insurance quotes. Feel free to visit. I am sure you can get useful information.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I use Amazon and Drag and drop. No need to sync. I choose what I want and put it there. However, there are auto sync options on non ipod devices if I can’t figure out the complexities of copy and paste

  4. Daemon says:

    “Gruber thinks Palm “could be faced with the public perception that they’ve stolen Apple’s IP.” ”

    Not that the public would really care.

  5. Bankruptcy copies says:

    I only use iTunes in computer so far. If it really works in Palm as well, I would love to have a try. Should maximize the use, lol.. Thank you for the information. bankruptcy schedules

  6. dculberson says:

    I also take exception with this statement from Daring Fireball:

    “[..] it provides Pre owners with the regular iTunes media syncing experience — which is to say the best media syncing experience.”

    Seriously? There’s none better? I don’t know of anything significantly better of hand, but the iTunes syncing “experience” is not what I would call good.

  7. IndiaTrip2 says:

    This seri of Palm is not yet makreted in my country. I really wish to see and touch the real unit, lol.. Just like the model and color a lot.

    David,
    Air India

  8. Joel Johnson says:

    I think it’s fair to call the iTunes syncing experience “good”, but it leaves quite a bit to be desired when it comes to customizability. And there’s certainly no magic in it, like behind-the-scenes transcoding, for example.

  9. Nicholas Smith says:

    It’s not a hardware lockout though, it’s a software lockout, and whilst I think the DMCA is a pile of insanity Apple might have cause to be pissed if they’ve reverse engineered the protocols. Plus keep in mind Gruber makes the point “could be faced with the public perception that they’ve stolen Apple’s IP.” if it goes to court and Palm can’t *prove they reverse engineered it* rather than getting an ex-Apple engineer to explain every detail.

  10. Jesse Ryder says:

    ANONYMOUS^2 has it. As Gruber also alluded, Palm is making itself dependent on Apple’s goodwill.
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  11. Jesse Ryder says:

    I really gathered much from this.Thanks for sharing.
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  12. Jesse Ryder says:

    agree with Nannes, this has been very inciteful.
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  13. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Half the time it doesn’t even work, requiring me to delete everything, reboot the device, and try again.

    I dunno if your iPod/iPhone is broken, or you’re just doing it wrong, but this doesn’t sound normal.

  14. Anonymous says:

    As someome from outside the Apple world who recently had to learn how to do things there, I find everything about the iTunes syncing experience completely non-intuitive. What’s wrong with just letting me use existing computing paradigms instead of inventing a slew of buttons and UI crud which i have to find and click through in order to make anything at all happen? Half the time it doesn’t even work, requiring me to delete everything, reboot the device, and try again. What’s wrong with letting me see the hard disk icon and copy my music files onto it as a non-exclusive alternative?

    Gruber’s comments are Apple-protectionist fanboy FUD. Interoperability and choice is almost always a good thing, even if that choice is something other than Apple products.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The issue for me isn’t the fact that they’re reversing Apple’s protocols. I’d consider that a valid way to implement compatibility. The issue for me is that there’s nothing to stop Apple from breaking compatibility with a firmware update to the approved devices (which are all Apple-made) and the software (which is all Apple-made). If Palm is advertising this compatibility, they’d better have a promise from Apple in writing not to break it.

  16. Nannes2 says:

    It is, simply, claiming to prospective customers as a selling point functionality in a two-year contract product that you cannot possibly hope to maintain absent a signed license agreement with Apple.
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  17. Nannes2 says:

    The issue for me is that there’s nothing to stop Apple from breaking compatibility with a firmware update to the approved devices (which are all Apple-made) and the software (which is all Apple-made).
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  18. Palm and Apple.. I would prefer Palm. Not because it is more high-end, but because I have more positive images about the brand. While Apple, we know, is one of the companies who waste the biggest energy in the world. wholesale japanese fashion

  19. Nannes2 says:

    I really gathered much from this.Thanks for sharing.
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  20. pmh says:

    “Half the time it doesn’t even work, requiring me to delete everything, reboot the device, and try again.”

    Sounds like he’s trying to sync the ipod to two different PC’s where this is the “normal” way for itunes to treat an unrecognized ipod.

    For a better experience (on PC’s) try Mediamonkey. I’ve found it tobe a much better match for my way of doing things on Ipods & I appreciate being able to pull songs off an ipod when neccesary…

  21. adamrice says:

    ANONYMOUS^2 has it. As Gruber also alluded, Palm is making itself dependent on Apple’s goodwill.

    I don’t have any moral objections to a Pre masquerading as an iPhone to iTunes, but it is an extremely brittle solution. Pre owners who use iTunes syncing are going to be sharing a boat with people who jailbreak their iPhones, and need to hold off on system updates until the next jailbreak comes down the pike.

  22. danilo says:

    In fairness to Gruber, he openly wants the Pre to succeed. Apple needs a viable competitor to continue innovating and, in Gruber’s view as well as my own, the Pre is the best bet.

    What’s “unbecoming” and “duplicitous” about it is not the circumvention of the DMCA and not the reverse engineering. It is, simply, claiming to prospective customers as a selling point functionality in a two-year contract product that you cannot possibly hope to maintain absent a signed license agreement with Apple.

  23. Brian says:

    I agree with Nannes, this has been very inciteful. Thank you!

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