Say what you like about the Pre, Palm aren’t holding back when it comes to positioning their new smartphone in the best possible way. After Apple released a support note warning non-iPod users (e.g. Palm Pre owners) that their ability to sync with iTunes could be broken with future software updates, Palm have described such an action as “a direct blow to their users who will be deprived of a seamless synchronization experience.”
“Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players and, because software changes over time, newer versions of Apple’s iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with non-Apple digital media players.” Apple
Indeed, Palm are of the opinion that locking the Pre out of iTunes would only damage Apple’s reputation. Their argument is the same as was suggested when the iTunes announcement was first made: that Apple will appear petty if they move to limit access to the software.
“Palm’s media sync works with the current version of iTunes. If Apple chooses to disable media sync in a future version of iTunes, it will be a direct blow to their users who will be deprived of a seamless synchronization experience. However, people will have options. They can stay with the iTunes version that works to sync their music on their Pre, they can transfer the music via USB, and there are other third-party applications we could consider.” Lynn Fox, spokesperson, Palm
The Pre presents itself to iTunes as a basic iPod, not as some sort of third-party device; to prevent that, Apple would have to specifically identify the smartphone during the connection process and single it out. Whether they’re willing to do that to protect their software remains to be seen: while it would stop Palm from piggybacking on iTunes, it would also likely push users away from the iTunes Store altogether. Any third-party application Palm decided to implement would probably use Amazon’s MP3 download service, a client for which is already loaded on the Pre.