updated 11:25 am EDT, Sat October 3, 2009
Palm webOS 1.2.1 fixes iTunes, Exchange
Palm today quietly circumvented Apple's protective measures again with webOS 1.2.1. Its second update in a week is the first to restore iTunes syncing for the Pre since iTunes 8.2 and will let the Pre take media from iTunes 9.0.1 as though it were a native device in the jukebox software. It even adds deeper integration and will now sync photo albums as well as lower-resolution versions that save space on the phone.
The update confirms rumors of the update coming next week and, potentially, that restoring sync is still easy. Palm's 1.1 update came quickly as the company reportedly only had to spend five minutes changing the vendor ID, but the steps Apple took to block the Pre from iTunes 9 may have only needed 2.5 hours to defeat. If true, Palm will continue to update webOS to maintain sync until it takes more than 40 man-hours of effort to add the feature back.
Apple has never brought up the possibility of legal action regarding iTunes sync but has repeatedly made clear that it will break compatibility with non-Apple devices when possible.
Beyond media, the webOS fix also addresses a problem with Exchange 2007 contacts, mail and other data not syncing properly with Palm's phones, problems starting an audio or video stream on the web, and a developer-only security issue.