Ummm… about that Palm Pre/iTunes syncing

So, as we recall, the Palm Pre is supposed to have some sort of iTunes syncing feature built-in. With the Apple pedigree of most of its programmers, this isn’t surprising. When you plug in your Pre, it seems, it will show up as an “iPod.” But how did they do it? John Gruber smells a rat:

If you’re still holding out any sort of hope that Palm is using some sort of heretofore sanctioned, semi-sanctioned, or even maybe-sorta-kinda-sanctioned-if-you-squint-your-eyes means for a third-party device to sync with iTunes via USB, note that the Pre, when connected to iTunes, is labelled as an “iPod”. If you think Apple would ever allow the use of “iPod” to describe anything other than an actual iPod, you’re nuts.

Whoa. So what’s going on here? John believes Palm is doing this to force Apple’s hand to allow outside phones access to the iTunes database. There are very few outside devices that work with iTunes – most of them are from the early days of MP3 players (MOTOROKR was one) – and the Palm Pre wasn’t invited to the party.

Again, I’m hoping the Palm Pre amazes me and my whole family with its greatness. I’m hoping that Sprint hasn’t ruined this phone. I hope Palm survives the coming apocalypse. But what’s going on here?