The Palm Pre, with its launch date just over a week away, may have a few more tricks up its proverbial sleeve. Already, it boasts an exciting array of new features and pleasers. At the top of the salivating critics’ lists are things like an unfailing OS, a lissom feel, sweet visual interface, seamless integration with top apps like Facebook and Twitter, and lots of other cool stuff that we won’t know until we have it in hand. The Pre has one more for us: the Palm Pre will sync with iTunes. Syncing with iTunes is a daring move that no non-Apple mobile device has tried so far. It is surprising that it would come out on such a highly-publicized and media-riveted device as the Palm Pre.
We’re not sure if this is a marketing trick, an under-the-table deal, a kowtow to the Apple, or just a way to boost Pre sales. Whatever it is, it’s probably a good thing (for Palm), if for no other reason than iTunes has literally flooded the mobile music market with its application. Now, the Palm Pre can get a taste of the action.
If the sync-with-iTunes rumor is true, the iPhone, Touch, and iPod cannot claim exclusivity on the iTunes user market. Thus, the Palm Pre has strategically encroached upon territory that previously had no competitors. We’re not sure how Apple is going to respond to this one, but it will probably urge them to up the ante on whatever iPhone or iPod is going to come out next. With competition from the Zune HD (and its fresh makeover), and now these ominous breezes from the Palm Pre, things are getting more tense on the hotly contested smartphone and mobile device market.
But there is a caveat to all of this. Apple is not a company known to give up very easily on questions of patents and intellectual property. So says Tim Cook, Apple’s ravenous COO, who threatens to “go after [competitors]” who snag Apple’s ideas and rightful property. What this means for Palm Pre is that they may be called to the carpet on more than just the multi-touch screen on the Palm Pre. It may mean that they have to explain or otherwise wriggle out from under their ‘intrusion’ into Apple’s turf.
Tim Cook takes it very seriously, and back in January, he said it in no uncertain terms: “We approach this business as a software platform business. We are watching the landscape. We like competition as long as they don’t rip off our IP. And if they do, we will go after anyone who does.” This probably means that Tim won’t like Palm Pre. While the battleground back in January was the multi-touch technology, the issue will be the Pre’s ability to sync with iTunes.
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