Apple Bars iTunes Syncing to Pre in Latest Update

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Pre users will have to stay with version 8.2 to sync with iTunes

UPDATE: the original headline and a reference to “wireless” syncing in this article have been changed to correct a misunderstanding on the author’s part.

Apple has confirmed that Palm Pre will no longer be able to sync with iTunes versions beginning with the latest update, killing a sales feature that Palm had long relied upon in billing its phone as a major competitor to the iPhone.

“iTunes 8.2.1 is a free software update that provides a number of important bug fixes,” said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris, in a BusinessWeek report Wednesday. “It also disables devices falsely pretending to be iPods, including the Palm Pre,” she continued, adding, “As we’ve said before, newer versions of Apple’s iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with unsupported digital media players.”

For a device roundly touted as iPhone’s most worthy competition in the smartphone market, Palm’s Pre has not made many waves since being released on June 6 by Sprint, and remains hampered by an online app store with very little product.

There is some disagreement among analysts about how well the Pre has been received so far by the market, with some crowing that expectations have been more than met, while others say not so fast.

While the news of iTunes’ Pre lockout is no surprise, and Palm could still easily craft workaround allowing Pre users to sync with newer versions of iTunes, including using third party solutions to do the job, the lockout news is further evidence that Apple is not about to let up the pressure on a company now run by some of its former employees.