iTunes vs the Palm Pre

Apple’s iTunes 8.2.1 update broke syncing with the Palm Pre.

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Normally when companies do this sort of thing – make changes that break another company’s product – they don’t brag about it. They say that it’s not a supported configuration and you’re left to wonder if it broke as a natural consequence of some changes they were making, when in fact they probably broke it on purpose.

But not this time. Apple specifically stated that the iTunes 8.2.1 update “addresses an issue with the verification of Apple devices”.

I don’t feel right about this one. On the one hand Apple is probably within it’s rights to do this. iTunes is free, supported by the money that the iTunes Music Store makes and some of the device revenues. Before the store, iTunes was completely supported by device revenues, and software tying itself to a hardware purchase is nothing new. CD Burner software, for example, has often checked that the manufacturer of the drive is the one that the software came bundled with.

What makes this feel different is that iTunes is middleware between my music and my device. I’m paying Apple for the music, so I feel like I should have the right to use iTunes to get that music onto my music player, whatever that player may be.

I support Apple’s right to do this, but I don’t think it’s very nice of them to do it.