The Palm Pre’s Hacky iTunes Workaround = Customer Service FAIL

John Gruber and the guy behind Double Twist were the first to talk about this. Essentially, the Palm Pre syncs with iTunes, allowing you to transfer non-DRM’d music and photos back and forth from the phone to the computer.

Great, right? Um, yeah, not so much.

You see, the Pre does this by pretending to be an iPod – and not even fully doing so, only pretending to be an iPod in the USB mass storage mode.

How long do you think this is going to last? Anyone want to take bets?

That’s not the point of this. Gruber, et al, pointed out the tech implications. Go read them if you want that piece of the pie (it’s good, and you should).

What I’m talking about is the customer service side. Pretty soon, this is what’s going to happen:

You buy a Pre. You thought about getting an iPhone, but you’re on Sprint, and AT&T’s coverage sucks in your neighborhood. You heard it syncs with iTunes, matter of fact, the Sprint guy told you so.

You’re sitting in front of your computer. You try to sync the Pre…and nothing. No response. Flatline.

You see, you downloaded iTunes 8.3 last night, just to get everything hunky-dory. And, unbeknownst to you, iTunes 8.3 fixed the hack that Palm was exploiting.

You call Sprint. And now, the great Tech Support Whip-Around begins!

Sprint tells you to call Palm – it’s not their problem. You call Palm, but since the problem is with iTunes (and Palm will absolutely, not in a million years, ever, ever cop to this being a hack), they bounce you over to Apple.

Since this is a hack, Apple’s not going to be the fall guy, and they’re definitely not going to fix your problem, since it’s a Palm phone, not an iPhone.

Bottom line: you’re the sucker, since none of the three companies are going to fix your problem – getting your music & photos onto your phone. You know who else is going to feel the heat: the poor dude at the Apple Store you’re yelling at, ‘cause Apple broke your Pre, even though you should be yelling at Palm.

Look, there was a simple fix to this: spend the time and money to create a simple sync application for the Pre. Get this – they have one! It works! It’s called Palm Desktop and it’s been around forever! It works on Macs and PCs!

So why didn’t they use it for the Pre?

Beats me. My guess is that with the new, Apple/DangerOS-derived regime (featuring Jon Rubenstein & Co.), they felt everything Pre was the new hotness and everything Treo was old ‘n’ busted. That included Palm Desktop, which fell victim to this iTunes hack.

I want Palm and WebOS to succeed. I have an iPhone, but I might buy a Pre. Seriously, though, this is a bush league move. C’mon Palm – you can do better


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