Submitted by Bob Bhatnagar on
Could a healthy smartphone rivalry turn into all-out legal war between Palm and Apple? The Palm Pre has been found to sync effortlessly with Apple's flagship software iTunes by tricking the software into thinking it's an iPod.
The Pre is due for release on June 6th, and Apple is widely expected to release the next generation of its iPhone later this summer. Apple watchers are waiting to see what response, if any, the company will make to the revelation concerning the Pre's iTunes syncing capabilities.
Although the Pre will not sync DRM-protected (digital rights management) purchases from the iTunes store, it will sync other music and photos from iPhoto.
The Palm USB interface uses Apple's Vendor Id and the Product Id for a specific iPod model when communicating with iTunes. Apple could easily foil the sync functionality if Palm is found using undocumented APIs to make this work.Palm's webOS operating system is designed for seamless Internet connectivity. The device has a slide out keyboard and a touch screen interface capable of swipes, pinches, and other gestures similar to the iPhone.
Apple was recently awarded a far-reaching patent titled "Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics." The patent may be the first step in a legal battle between Apple and Palm over the Pre.
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Palm stock recently went up after news that the Pre would only be exclusive to Sprint for six months, making it likely that other carriers such as AT&T and Verizon would offer the device on their networks.
The Palm Pre will compete with Apple's iPhone, the Blackberry Storm, and T-Mobile's G1. Sprint is expecting shortages of the device as consumer demand initially will outpace supply.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
It's sad that the biggest focus on the Pre is that it can connect to iTunes.
The majority of people who have used the Palm OS(s) for years, could care less about this tiny feature that may or may not work.
"Apple was recently awarded a far-reaching patent titled "Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics." The patent may be the first step in a legal battle between Apple and Palm over the Pre."
Palm has had touch screens with a complete gesture catalog since before Apple made phones. ;)
Panchette replied on Permalink
Didn't those old Palms need a stylus?
Davis replied on Permalink
You can use fingers, too. The stylus was utilized because it's easier to write with (in the days when Palm made keyboard-less PDAs), and it can handle tapping small buttons and other on-screen controls (smaller buttons means better utilization of screen real estate). Many an old Palm user, however, learned how quickly we could get things done by some fast and precise finger tapping. Some other things Palm had before Apple even made an "OS X", let alone a smartphone/PDA: handheld GUI praised for it's innovative and powerful simplicity, a concept of installing small programs - "apps" - that greatly increased the functionality and usability of the device, a launcher screen that arranges those apps in a categorized grid onscreen (hmmmm... looks familiar), full featured suite of PIM apps with a solid underlying database, and an OS that was rock solid. Later on they would release (as Handspring) a "new" device: a PDA with the functionality of a cell phone built in - what they dubbed a "smartphone," Apple is consistently good at taking what's already been done, dressing it up so it looks cool, and mass-marketing it as the "new thing."