Bad news, Palm Pre owners: it looks like Apple has broken the Pre's iTunes syncing ability once again. On Wednesday Apple released the latest version of its media software, iTunes 9, which includes social networking features, a new iTunes Store interface, and, apparently, a way to break the Pre's syncing capability.
Complaints about the latest sync break started surfacing on Pre-related forums shortly after Apple made iTunes 9 available for download. Before the iTunes update, Palm's handset was able to grab DRM-free music and podcasts from iTunes using the Pre's built-in Media Sync application.
This is the second time Apple has broken up the Pre-iTunes relationship. Shortly before Palm launched the Pre in early June, the company announced its WebOS-based handset would be able to sync with iTunes. That prompted a statement by Apple saying the Pre's syncing ability wouldn't last long. Two months after the Pre launched, Apple made good on its promise when the Pre lost its iTunes syncing capabilities with the release of iTunes 8.2.1.
Palm wasn't one to sit quietly and take it, however, and offered a fix for iTunes syncing nine days later with the release of WebOS 1.1.0. Now it's déjà vu all over again, with a new version of iTunes out and Palm expected to release WebOS 1.2 in the near future.
It's not surprising that Cupertino isn't too thrilled about having a non-Apple device able to sync directly with iTunes, but this farce needs to end. It's ridiculous for the company that famously called for the widespread adoption of DRM-free music to lock up that same content with what is essentially another form of digital rights management. Instead of locking your music up with software, this time it's your hardware that dictates how you consume the content that you paid for.
I, for one, hope Palm continues its assault against iTunes, and thwarts Apple's attempts to lock out third-party devices after every software update from Cupertino.
If you're trying to avoid the ongoing sync saga between Palm and iTunes with third-party software like Salling Media Sync and the Missing Sync, note that at the time of this writing, these programs had not yet been updated to accommodate iTunes 9.
Connect with Ian Paul on Twitter (@ianpaul).