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Palm Pre's Media Sync integration with iTunes can only be illegal, says John Gruber

Over the past week, with some Palm Pre units starting to move around in the hands of employees, partners and others, it was discovered that the new Palm smartphone would have native integration with Apple's iTunes, without the need to install no additional drivers or applications all the code needed for synchronization has been incorporated directly into the Pre firmware.

Palm Pre and iTunes

A few days after the discovery, Jon Lech Johansen better known as DVD Jon, wrote an article trying to explain better what antics Palm would have used to trick iTunes into recognizing the Pre as an iPod. He believes that the company has implemented Apple's own IDs in its smartphone software, which also needed to have its software adapted to respond to USB commands sent by iTunes and provide correct details about the device via XML.

Now, journalist John Gruber, from Daring Fireball, raises some questions about the legitimacy of these actions. According to him, Palm is clearly not using Apple's own APIs for the compatibility of third-party MP3 players with its media player. This method requires that a device-specific iTunes plugin be created and, so far, only works on the Mac.

Gruber believes that the method used by Palm should be the same as described by Johansen, since Media Sync does not require the installation of any additional software and works on both Mac and Windows. Certainly Apple would not have sanctioned any method to allow webOS to carry out such operations.

Note that when the Pre synced to iTunes, it identified as being an iPod. Apple would never allow a device to be recognized as one of its iPods for sure an infraction. As well as the use of Apple's own IDs will be considered another infraction in addition to being a method that can be easily disabled by Apple with the iTunes update (and that seems to have happened with the arrival of version 8.2).

The journalist "jokes" that Palm is practically "asking to be sued" by Apple, especially if we take into account the number of former engineers at the Cupertino firm who are working on the competitor. Did they use their previous knowledge of the iPod / iTunes to implement the function media sync on webOS? Or did they manage to reverse engineer and break the protocol used by Ma? Whatever the method, Palm will surely have to prove the legality of its actions in court (sooner or later). In the meantime, there remains the public perception that they are shamelessly stealing Apple's intellectual property. Ugly, ugly …