Can Apple Break iTunes Sync? | webOS Nation
 
 

Can Apple Break iTunes Sync?

by Derek Kessler Wed, 10 Jun 2009 3:57 pm EDT

Palm Pre iTunes Sync

Pardon us while we nerd-out for another minute or five here:

Ever since Palm revealed that the Pre would sync seamlessly with iTunes, apparently by masquerading as an iPod, the tech world has been abuzz with thoughts of how likely Apple would be to break Palm’s Media Sync, and what they could do to stop it. Forum member eodan found that the /resources/webOS/nova/usr/lib/storaged/diskmode-call.sh file is where the magic happens:

#!/bin/sh

if [ x$1 = xon ]; then
# set up sysfs entries
/usr/lib/storaged/diskmode.sh media init Apple iPod 1.62 /usr/share/storaged/SysInfoExtended
# on which this depends
/usr/lib/storaged/diskmode.sh media on
elif [ x$1 = xoff ]; then
/usr/lib/storaged/diskmode.sh media off
else
echo "unknown arg $1" >& 2
fi

Essentially, that’s the code that determines how the Pre identifies itself when Media Sync is activated. The interesting part, is that when on, the Pre tells the computer that it is a third generation iPod Nano. Eodan provided the response that such an iPod gives to a computer:

[ 1677.692000] usb-storage: device found at 7
[ 1677.692000] usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
[ 1682.692000] usb-storage: device scan complete
[ 1682.704000] scsi 4:0:0:0: Direct-Access Apple iPod 1.62 PQ: 0 ANSI: 0

What this means for end users like you and me is that for Apple to attempt to block the Pre, they’re going to have to change iTunes sync protocols to do something more drastic, like query the device’s serial number and check that against Apple’s list.  The reason is that -- as of right now -- it looks as though iTunes has no way to distinguish between a Pre and a 3rd generation iPod Nano. There has been a lot of talk about this and so the situation is unclear, though, but it appears that iTunes may still be able to see the IOUSB identification and therefore block the Pre.

Anyhow, if it's true, serial # checking would in turn open a whole new can of worms, not just for Pre owners, but for the millions of iPod owners out there as well. For all our sakes, let’s just hope that Apple just leaves it be.

Thanks to Ben for sending this in!

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