Over the weekend, Palm introduced a new patch for Pre users, which once again allows the handset to sync media with the most recent version if iTunes. With the release of webOS 1.2.1, Palm has defiantly brushed aside the words of Apple and the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), but its bravado may be more than meets the eye.
According to a blog post by Craig Hunter, Apple has long provided a legal, free method for other manufacturers to sync devices with iTunes. Instead of using Apple's USB-IF issued vendor ID, Hunter notes that all Palm has to do is use the iTunes music library XML file stored on the user's computer to create a sync utility for the Pre -- like BlackBerry's media sync. This would be ok with Apple, and it sidesteps the USB-IF. Why doesn't Palm take that route? Publicity.
The Pre's lackluster sales haven't been able to boost Palm back to their PDA heyday. By creating controversy, Palm brings much needed positive attention to its smartphone. People will see the Palm versus Apple news, but won't read into it enough to discover who the real bad guy is. As i4u so adequately put it, people will simply see a smaller company sticking it to a corporate behemoth.
By fixing the Pre's ability to sync every few weeks, Palm stands in the limelight for little expense -- but what if Apple were to stop responding? Is Palm instigating Cupertino for cheap press?