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Snow Leopard Drops Palm OS Sync 290

Posted by timothy
from the exclusivity-demands-it dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "It's been just a little over a month since Apple blocked iTunes sync with Palm Pre, and now Apple takes that strategy one step further by blocking Snow Leopard sync with Palm-OS powered smartphones. Even though Palm has officially retired Palm OS and is now focusing hard on its next-generation WebOS in the Palm Pre, the company is still selling Palm OS-powered smartphones; two current models are the Treo Pro on Sprint and the Centro."
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Snow Leopard Drops Palm OS Sync

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  • by InlawBiker (1124825) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @06:55PM (#29224471)

    So why would Apple spend time developing a feature for it? Especially since all 3 of the people still using Palm OS devices can purchase an app that does the same thing. Looks to me like the press is making a mountain from a molehill.

  • by quanticle (843097) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @06:58PM (#29224503) Homepage

    Apple doesn't have a 90%+ share of the operating systems market and, therefore, cannot drive competitors out of business through sheer price/compatibility pressure alone. The DoJ went after Microsoft because its monopoly over the operating systems market allowed it to distort the market in web browsers to its own advantage. That was illegal. Now, unless you can show that Apple's market power is sufficient to distort the market in PDAs/smartphones, then Apple hasn't done anything illegal.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Slur (61510) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @06:59PM (#29224513) Homepage Journal

    Support for legacy technologies gets dropped all the time. It sucks, but it opens up new opportunities for enterprising developers. Besides, Palm themselves stopped making Palm Desktop for the Mac ages ago.

    Obviously there is lingering demand. So, in due course there will be an open source solution to sync from the Mac OS to the Palm OS. After all, it's not rocket science.

    So there you go. Competitiveness is restored.

  • Ugh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:00PM (#29224519)

    Before anyone gets down on me, let me say I am a big-time Apple junkie. I have an iPhone, an iMac, a Macbook, hell, even an Apple TV. I code in Perl and Objective-C.

    That said, this is totally unconscionable. Apple has an obligation to its users not to break things that used to work for no good reason, and suddenly killing Palm sync support with no good reason other than a big Nelson Muntz "ha-ha" is kind of a red flag.

    Anyone who had a serious Palm jones already used The Missing Sync anyhow, but this is seriously irresponsible.

  • by donovansmith (570177) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:06PM (#29224607) Homepage
    Palm Desktop stopped functioning years ago, so Apple finally dropping support for it is not a bad thing at all. I'm sure Missing Sync for Palm OS will be continue to function or be updated to function in Snow Leopard. I know I had to use it with my Centro since the decrepit Palm Desktop didn't work for it. Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices also rely on third-party software to sync in Mac OS X. Apple dropping support on their side is a non-issue.
  • Re:Stay classy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:07PM (#29224611)

    Is there a special place in hell for morons like you who just bash MS?

    Windows 7 is a very good operating system by all sensible accounts.

  • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:08PM (#29224623) Homepage

    Anyone who had a serious Palm jones already used The Missing Sync anyhow, but this is seriously irresponsible.

    So Apple should keep working on a niche market that is already well served by a third party? Why? Should Apple keep parallel and serial ports alive? Should I be upset that 10.6 doesn't work with my 1998 Winprinter? Where does it stop?

    So, all 2000 users of Palm PDAs / Treos can either 1) stay at 10.5 - which isn't such a bad OS or 2) Go buy Missing Sync (which, I imagine, since Palm synching in OS 10.5 and earlier was pretty rudimentary 1990 of said users probably already have).

  • Free Software FTW (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HRbnjR (12398) <chris@hubick.com> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:11PM (#29224653) Homepage

    Just install Free Software and GNU/Linux and forget about all these stupid games! Take control of your computing with an platform created by the people, for the people. Use something which is designed to enable you, rather than restrict you - locking you in and exploiting you for cash.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:13PM (#29224677)

    Nothing stopping Palm releasing software to allow syncing on OS X. They just chose to discontinue it and instead rely on Apple to provide it.

    Then went and pissed off Apple with the whole "I'm an iPod really" private USB vendor code spoofing thing.

    Doesn't surprise me that Apple are hardly going to concern themselves with syncing with PalmOS - an OS that Palm itself is dead, out of goodwill for Palm.

  • Re:Ugh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:16PM (#29224713)

    Why does it have an obligation to ensure third party products function across OS releases? A third party product, by the way, that doesn't have native sync software because Palm discontinued it. Palm has also said that PalmOS is dead.

    They have announced their intention. If Palm want to do something about it, they can release some software to make it all work again.

  • by dn15 (735502) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:17PM (#29224717)
    Nothing is being blocked. Apple is simply discontinuing their own support for Palm devices. Palm itself stopped officially supporting Macs years ago. There's nothing preventing users from running third-party software to sync.
  • by jamstar7 (694492) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:18PM (#29224733)
    Palm Pre is a relatively new phone. It uses the Palm webOS, not PalmOS. Apple dropped sync support for it through Itunes. Just coincidently, Apple also sells a smart phone.
  • Re:Stay classy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:19PM (#29224753)

    Legacy?

    This sync method was the foundation for a lot of devices beyond palm. The fact that Palm is moving on is not germane.

    Its just code, code that has already been extensively debugged, widely deployed and is still in use by many people for many devices.

    This isn't about legacy.

    Its about that child running Apple, and his petty tantrums.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aranykai (1053846) <[slgonser] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:20PM (#29224771)

    Personally, it streamlines most of my home computing tasks quite nicely over XP or Vista. Its faster, more responsive and has a couple nice features that both vista and XP lack.

    I don't see myself putting it on my netbook, work computer or server any time soon, but it seems to be a step in the right direction for personal use.

  • Re:Trollbait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:20PM (#29224779)
    The difference though was, the floppy disk was hardware, as far as I know (and http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8300945231/m/968001001931 [arstechnica.com] seems to say so) that there is still floppy disk support for OS X. It costs money to include a floppy disk, it does not cost any money, and probably almost no money in support, to continue supporting an un-changing platform that is "dead". Taking it out A) most likely has no space gains B) inconveniences users and C) is pointless. It cost money to continue shipping floppy disks, it does not cost any more money to keep syncing with Palm devices.
  • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aranykai (1053846) <[slgonser] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:25PM (#29224833)

    Its not a niche market, its every single palm phone except the absolute most recent one. Every single palm sold before June 6th, 2009 is affected.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheGreenNuke (1612943) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:29PM (#29224893)

    I'll just put Windows 7 onto my MacBook instead of Snow Leopard.

    There is a special place in Hell for people that put that abomination on good computers.

    Thats why he's putting it on a MacBook and not a good computer....

  • by Renderer of Evil (604742) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:35PM (#29224925) Homepage

    Palm Pre is a relatively new phone. It uses the Palm webOS, not PalmOS. Apple dropped sync support for it through Itunes. Just coincidently, Apple also sells a smart phone.

    iTunes never supported the Palm Pre. Check your facts.

  • by KylePflug (898555) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:35PM (#29224931) Homepage

    Apple didn't "drop" sync support for it through iTunes. Palm tried to sneak support in by spoofing an iPod vendor ID, which Apple undid. Nothing about iTunes gives competitors the right to use it as a selling point for their phones.

    I think it's pretty shitty of Apple to refuse to play nice, but it's not like Palm didn't have it coming when they tried to pass off a pasted-on hack as some kind of official feature.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CMonk (20789) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:46PM (#29225049)

    The only one that didn't want Palm products to succeed was Palm. Horrible products. Support EOL for all their products were the day they shipped. Rarely got any sort of bug fixes, never any additional features. Palm Desktop for Mac is still a PowerPC only application (runs on intel via rosetta). Why bother trying to support something the vendor has no interest in supporting? I'll never make the mistake of buying another Palm product (I've had 2, Palm Pro and Palm T5). I've never heard anyone say a good thing about their Treo so I never went there. I don't expect anything will change with the Pre. I also don't understand the Pre hype, it's not bringing anything new to the table.

  • by KylePflug (898555) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:46PM (#29225051) Homepage

    Enables you to:
    - Feel self righteous
    - Spend most of your time configuring bullshit

    Restricts you from:
    - Running anything supported by any work environment ever
    - Most niche computing scenarios (tablets? accessibility? professional production software?)
    - "Those stupid games"
    - "Those stupid industry-standard productivity suites"
    - Owning a computer that your family, friends, roommates can use
    - Interacting responsibly with the modern realities of digital entertainment (as in, legitimately purchasing media and games)

    Look, I've had systems based on everything from Red Hat in high school to Sabayon and Ubuntu in college. I own two MacBooks, I've built countless PCs running everything from ME to W7. I love Linux for what it is, but what it isn't is perfectly clear. It isn't "designed to enable" you to do jack shit unless you are a developer, have tons of free time, or are a total ideologue. Nothing has ever been more convenient under Linux than it is under appropriate consumer software.

    I want free software to succeed and thrive, but what that requires is that people stop this vapid pulpit bullshit every time a consumer OS does something less-than-perfect. You know what regular people think of Linux people as? A slightly nerdier version of that guy in the camo pants with the beard and a "THE END IS NEAR" sign outside the office. Nobody cares until you have something useful.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:48PM (#29225073) Homepage Journal

    When you expect the brand of computer you use to convey status upon you, this is the price you have to be willing to pay.

    And Windows 7 works great on my Macbook Pro.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arminw (717974) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:55PM (#29225167)

    ....Its about that child running Apple, and his petty tantrums.....

    Why should Apple not be allowed to have its walled garden? Only those who pay Apple are allowed to enter. They are not like Microsoft, where for the longest time there was no alternative to Windows. If you do not like Apple products, nobody forces you to buy them. Vote with your wallet and stop complaining.

  • by indiechild (541156) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:02PM (#29225209)

    Agreed on the Google Talk thing, but this Palm OS Sync isn't an example of anti-competitiveness, it's just dropping support for something that is long past its use-by-date anyway.

    And Apple doesn't get away with things -- there's been a lot more bitching about Apple than Microsoft lately. People are even defending MS against the FSF.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:03PM (#29225215)

    What this article is talking about though, is PalmOS.

    This has nothing at all to do with the Palm Pre, which Apple didn't "drop support for" - they never supported it in the first place.

    This is about the ability to sync PalmOS based phones, which Apple provided a conduit for since about 10.3 or something, that they are finally dropping support for. 10 years after Palm itself dropped support for it on the Mac incidentally.

    I am certain that spoofing Apple's USB vendor ID with the Palm Pre certainly meant that Apple can cease caring whether or not dropping support for PalmOS sync (when Palm itself doesn't provide a way to sync on OS X) will annoy Palm.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Planesdragon (210349) <{slashdot} {at} {castlesteelstone.us}> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:04PM (#29225235) Homepage Journal

    Why should Apple not be allowed to have its walled garden?

    Because they'll lose customers.

    And customers are always, ALWAYS allowed to complain.

  • Re:Ugh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:05PM (#29225245)

    So, where is Palm's software to fill in now that Apple are discontinuing support for the PalmOS that Palm has declared dead (but still sells phones with it on)?

    Oh right, they discontinued the sync software years ago.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by arminw (717974) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:13PM (#29225309)

    ...And customers are always, ALWAYS allowed to complain...

    Complaining customers are OK if they are really your customers. In the case of a Palm, they're somebody else's customers and they they should be allowed to complain as long and as loud as they wish to and be ignored.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by TiberiusMonkey (1603977) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:14PM (#29225327)
    If Palm want their devices to work with OSX then they are perfectly capable to write their own software, in fact they did and then discontinued it, so don't give me any of that rubbish. In fact, there is absolutely no reason for them to be leaching off iTunes either, other phone makers seem perfectly capable of writing their own sync software that uses the iTunes library, but for some reason Palm feels they don't have to do that and they have to make the Pre fake as an iPod. And Snow Leopard IS about legacy.
  • Re:Stay classy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:23PM (#29225413)

    Except the only universal praise ("all sensible accounts") is that it's better than Vista.

    Compared to XP, it's not so clear a winner.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by don depresor (1152631) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:29PM (#29225467)
    So if they buy a copy of snow leopard, they're apple's customers, but if they also have a Palm, they automatically stop being apple's customers ?

    Nice logic there smart boy.
  • Re:Stay classy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BluBrick (1924) <(blubrick) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:39PM (#29225555) Homepage
    If I already own a Palm handheld and an Apple desktop or laptop, whose customer am I? (Hint: it's not "somebody else")
  • by CatOne (655161) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:40PM (#29225565)

    The Palm connector, maintained by PALM, has languished for years. It suffers from TERRIBLE limitiations on Mac OS X, and it always had (you can only sync ONE address per contact, etc.). It was broken and really not updatedy by Palm as long ago as Mac OS X 10.4.

    If you want to sync a Palm device, buy "The Missing Sync" and you're good to go. Works fine. Sure, it's extra $, but that's what you pay for that boat anchor.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:50PM (#29225633)

    What about MP3 players?

    What about them? Apple is the dominant player but they aren't by an stretch a monopoly like Microsoft has with Windows. Might get there someday but they sure aren't there now. Frankly the dedicated MP3 player market has probably peaked and will slowly but steadily decline. MP3 players are going to get increasingly integrated into cell phones. As popular as the iPhone is, Apple has no where near the pull in the cell phone market they do in the MP3 player or even PC markets.

    The iPod and iTunes don't exactly play nice with other software or hardware.

    And there are plenty of other options available so that really isn't a big deal. ITunes is nice but hardly the only way to sync an MP3 player with your song collection. Apple has to be careful. They've gone too proprietary before with their PCs (resulting in 10% marketshare) and it would be easy to make the same mistake with their music businesses.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @09:01PM (#29225707)

    Its not a niche market, its every single palm phone except the absolute most recent one. Every single palm sold before June 6th, 2009 is affected.

    Even Palm does a crappy job providing integration with computers for their own devices and has for years so I don't see why this is Apple's fault. I dropped my palm years ago because they fell WAY behind the curve on keeping their software modern and it was a pain to communicate with my PC. Unless I happened to use Outlook (I don't) or the near useless Palm Desktop I couldn't sync the address books which pretty much made their PDAs and phones useless to me since there are plenty of smartphones on the market which are much more capable and modern than the Treos. (I'm not about to tie myself to some third party integration tool either) Furthermore Palm themselves declared PalmOS dead. If you purchase something which the maker itself is telling you that it has a limited future, that is just dumb.

  • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @09:17PM (#29225825)

    ...Which they all have anyway, because you've actually wanted to sync a Palm to a Mac for the bast 5 years or so that was the only way that really worked.

    Really, this is a non-issue. Apple stopped trying to make something that no one actually used work.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Uberbah (647458) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @09:32PM (#29225963)

    Taking it out though, that just screams anticompeditive.

    No, as Palm themselves dropped support years ago, these cries scream unfounded BS.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 27, 2009 @09:51PM (#29226077)

    "No, as Palm themselves dropped support years ago, these cries scream unfounded BS."

    Umm, they blocked the pre. They now don't support any Palm prior to this year, which I believe the Pre is really the only new release.

    iow, this year alone, they've phracked with every Palm device ever made. This seems pretty established, so I think you mean something else when you chose the word unfounded. It's directly anticompetitive by definition, as it eliminates or hinders another products viability on their platform for the time being.

    Apple has no obligation to support or help Palm, is the way I look at it. What they did is legal anti-competitive behavior, but unhardly contradictory to the anti-competitve claim--that is the fundamental nature of business.

    Someone smarter than me can maybe elucidate this breakdown further, but I had to respond given your comment was mod'd a +3 insightful for some odd reason.

  • Re:Stay classy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RedK (112790) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @10:57PM (#29226473)

    Maybe I don't know, Palm could write their own Mac stuff instead of relying on Apple to do it for them ? I don't see how this is anti-competitive, Palm OS is not a Apple product, they don't have to support it, write software for it or update legacy code to work with their new OS.

    Palm can do the work themselves if they think it's worth it. Apple isn't stopping them from downloading Xcode and writing a Cocoa based app to sync with their own hardware.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:06PM (#29226531)

    AAC files downloaded from the iTunes store are encrypted using Apple's DRM technology, "FairPlay", they can only be played using devices that support Apple's DRM technology

  • Re:Trollbait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Friday August 28, 2009 @04:17AM (#29228057)

    Of course it costs money to keep syncing with deprecated hardware. Apple will have to support this software bridge for the lifetime of Snow Leopard (2 years? 4? more?). Cutting out essentially deprecated software will make the OS easier (and cheaper) for Apple to support in the long run.

    Cutting out code may cause bugs. At the very least it will need to be tested to determine whether cutting it out causes bugs. That will require developer time. And the cutting itself requires developer time. Additionally, any automated unit, regression, and integratin tests that check that module will need to be altered. Perhaps the build process may need to be altered. The API documentation will need to be altered, the object diagrams updated.

    In practice, leaving it alone and 'supporting it' may be considerably less work than removing it.

    I've done maintenance on many projects, where a bit of obsolete functionality was simply left alone, or at most just removed from the UI (e.g. its menu item removed). It wasn't worth the effort to actually remove the code, as it was inter-related with stuff that was still in use, and automatically tested by unit tests and integration tests. It was simpler to just leave it there, and as long as it continued to 'work', it was left alone.

    Despite the best attempts at writing modular code, requirements changes over time invariably confound it. And removing code is harder than adding new code. Those are practically axioms of software engineering... the corollary is that eventually its cheaper to rebuild it from scratch.

  • Monopoly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by improfane (855034) on Friday August 28, 2009 @11:50AM (#29231805) Journal

    Apple has a monopoly on the voice chat features of its phone. It banned Google Talk to maintain the monopoly. It means you have no choice but to use the iPhone's own build in voice chat. They're purposefully locking you in, without competition. Monopoly means:

          1. A company or group having exclusive control over a commercial activity.
          2. A commodity or service so controlled.

    Apple lets other Applications on its platform but as soon as something competes with their monopoly, they block it! Is this not obvious?

    Microsoft gets into the same problems with antitrust, why not Apple? I find it funny how I was modded up to 3 insightful then modded down by the Apple fanboys.

  • by Tetsujin (103070) on Friday August 28, 2009 @11:57AM (#29231913) Homepage Journal

    The only one that didn't want Palm products to succeed was Palm. Horrible products. Support EOL for all their products were the day they shipped. Rarely got any sort of bug fixes, never any additional features. Palm Desktop for Mac is still a PowerPC only application (runs on intel via rosetta). Why bother trying to support something the vendor has no interest in supporting? I'll never make the mistake of buying another Palm product (I've had 2, Palm Pro and Palm T5). I've never heard anyone say a good thing about their Treo so I never went there. I don't expect anything will change with the Pre. I also don't understand the Pre hype, it's not bringing anything new to the table.

    Well, I've enjoyed my Treo 650 - though perhaps more because of the hardware than the software. The combination of a good screen and a dedicated keyboard area was just the right design for me - and the Treo was one of the first products to do that well in a smartphone format.

    After the way Palm has handled PalmOS over the last several years I'm more than a little hesitant to buy any new Palm devices myself. I mean, there was the never-ending reign of PACE, followed by the adoption of NVFS (which was great, in a way, since it protected the device from data loss due to power failure - but in older revisions it could lose entire databases if your device crashed while the database was open - and it changed a fundamental assumption about how databases work on PalmOS...

    Had Palm rolled out a new OS platform... I don't know... before they allowed PalmOS to degrade into a complete joke... Before it completely ceased to be a reasonable fit for the devices on which it was running... Then I would be a lot less skeptical about the stuff they're rolling out now... I'm with you on the Pre - I can't understand the hype of it.

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