Palm Pre - iTunes Sync Now Broken


The latest iTunes update, released today, had an interesting release note.

"iTunes 8.2.1 … addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices."

That got me thinking about the Palm Pre and the way it pretends to be an Apple device to sync with iTunes. Turns out, that no longer works.

Steve's been back 2 weeks and the Pre sync is now dead. Go figure.

iTunes Sync and the Palm Pre


Mac Rumors and Daring Fireball point out Apple is explicitly stating they will not worry about supporting third party devices with future iTunes updates.

Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players and, because software changes over time, newer versions of Apple's iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with non-Apple digital media players.

The "read between the lines" interpretation of the above goes something like this.

"Dear Pre Owners,

While you may be currently enjoying iTunes Sync with your shiny new Pre's (designed by former Apple employees), don't count on it for long."

I'm not sure Apple really is all that upset about this. The Pre doesn't sync very well with iTunes and the fact that it does at all could actually help shut down all of the complaints of an iTunes monopoly.

I think the Apple message could be taken at face value. It is not that Apple is going to actively try and cut the Pre out but Apple isn't going to waste any time making sure it works either. If future upgrades kill the Pre sync, then so be it. I've always felt that unless there is some agreement with Apple in place, Palm is foolish to tout this ability anyway. If Apple does break the sync, in the words of Ricky Ricardo, Palm is going to need to do a lot of 'splainin'.

Screencast #11 - iTunes Smartplaylist



After a bit of a hiatus, I've got the screencast train rolling again. I rebuilt the opening graphics, moved the hosting to libsyn, and I'm now publishing in Apple TV format. Finally, I've been able to ramp up the production values a bit with ScreenFlow.

This short screencast walks you through the process of setting up a smart playlist in iTunes that will allow you to sync 50 of your favorite songs to your iPod that you haven’t listened to in the last month. The smart playlist automatically updates itself so every time you plug in, you get new music.

You can get it through iTunes or right here.

iTunes Smart Playlist Mojo - Audio Podcast Hotlist


I've been spending some time learning a bit more about iTunes lately. One time waster I'm trying to kill is the process I use to load and discard podcasts. I listen to a variety of podcasts ranging from history to law to tech. I have a "slightly used and battered" generation one iPod Nano that generally gets plugged into my car stereo and my iPhone. It is a pain to manually copy and remove these things from various devices and even more of a pain to do it twice. So I decided to try and build a smart play list to do this work for me.

You can make a new smart play list from the menu bar (under "File") or with a key combination (option-command-N) or by option clicking on the little plus sign below your play lists.


Once that is done it is a simple matter of filling in your rules.

Audio Podcast Smart Playlist.jpg

So in order to fit in the playlist, the audio file has to be a podcast and have a playcount of 0. I then made a few rules to exclude specific video podcasts in my feed. Finally, I clicked "Live updating".

Now, when I sync my iPod, iTunes figures out what podcasts have already been listened to and removes them from the list. It also adds anything new that iTunes has downloaded in the interim. It doesn't matter if I've listened to it on my iPhone or iPod, it all gets synced up in the end.

I'm amazed at how ridiculously simple this was and how much easier it makes syncing. I'm going to be adding more smart playlists. Stay tuned.