But Apple took a big step backwards this week with its high-handed move to prevent Palm Pre users from easily using iTunes to manage media. Until Wednesday, users of the Pre could use iTunes to sync their files. But the latest version of iTunes, 8.2.1, disables this Pre feature.
If Apple wants to encourage people to purchase the iPhone, there are better ways than by engaging in this kind of consumer-unfriendly tactic. The company could, for instance, not renew its exclusive deal with AT&T -- a deal that prevents users who have plans with other wireless carriers from purchasing iPhones.
Besides, even with this latest software, Pre users will still be able to transfer their iTunes files to the device, though not as seamlessly. Palm itself suggested that people can transfer music through a USB. Also, people can still use older iTunes software.
It's also possible -- maybe even likely -- that Pre users will simply turn to other programs to manage music files. And if they're going to stop using iTunes for music management, they might well also stop using it to make purchases. After all, these days users can purchase DRM-free tracks at Amazon, Wal-Mart and other online stores.
The Federal Communications Commission is already investigating whether deals between wireless carriers and handset manufacturers -- like the AT&T/iPhone arrangement -- are anticompetitive. This latest move gives consumer advocates one more reason to complain about the company.