Palm Pre can pretend it's an iPod

Promises to be first non-Apple device to synch with iTunes

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Palm executive chairman Jon Rubinstein today confirmed that the Palm Pre will be able to synch with iTunes on a PC or Mac - emphasizing its potential threat to Apple's iPhone when it launches in the US next week.

The Palm Pre will be able to synch music and videos from iTunes, although it will not be able to play DRM-encrypted files.

In an interview with Walt Mossbery at the All Things Digital D7 conference, Rubinstein accused Apple of being "practically a monopolist" and said that consumers who had purchased music should be able to use it however they wanted.

All this and photo synch, too

The Pre will also be able to synch images from iPhoto, be charged or be used simply as a USB mass storage device when plugged into a PC's USB port.

Roger McNamee, managing director of Elevation Partners (Palm's largest investor) said that he wasn't worried about Apple trying to break the synch feature: "We're recognizing their market dominance and they can't tell people what to do with their music."

To make the Pre's position as a potential iPhone killer absolutely clear, McNamee said, ""As a generalization, everything you're used to in an iPhone will be in the Pre as well. And if it's not there initially, it will be there soon."

Rubenstein warned consumers that while the Pre is now in "full production", there might be shortages if demand for the smartphone is high. The initial US retail partner, Sprint, may (or may not) be joined by Verizon in the months ahead, but a potential GSM version of the handset was dismissed as happening only "at some point" in the future.

Via ATD.