First up: sync your BlackBerry with iTunes. And is there a Mac desktop sync package around the corner?
It looks like RIM is finally getting serious about embracing Mac users . After years of writing desktop software for Windows but ignoring the growing legion of Apple users, especially in the mobile-minded notebook space, some Mac-friendly software is on the horizon – and more looks set to follow.
The first effort looks likely to be a Mac version of BlackBerry Media Sync, which is currently available for Windows. Media Sync allows users to sync music and video playlists from their iTunes Library onto a BlackBerry via a USB cable (although it doesn’t work with DRM tracks purchased from Apple’s iTunes Store, of course). Genius playlists
, introduced as part of the new iPod line-up, are also supported. We’ve provided one sneak peak at BlackBerry Media Sync for Mac above, and you can head over to BoyGeniusReport
But is seems like the best may be yet to come. For some months we’ve been hearing rumours that RIM was working on a Mac version of the BlackBerry Desktop Manager which handles data synchronisation (email, calendar, contacts, memos and tasks) between BlackBerry and Windows, as well as loading applications and shifting files into the device’s memory or a media card.
This is long overdue, as Mac users have had to struggle with the woefully buggy PocketMac or shell out US$40 for the admittedly excellent third-party program Missing Sync
(however, even this cannot do firmware upgrades or load apps onto the device).
Now a report in CIO
magazine tips that several new Mac-compatible programs for BlackBerry users are expected within the first half of 2009.
“RIM plans to release a set of new tools within the first half of 2009 which will address a number of longstanding complaints from Mac users” CIO reports, “according to a source within RIM who asked to remain nameless because the company's not yet ready to officially announce details or release dates. ‘We know that we don't have an ideal solution for Mac users,’ the RIM source said. ‘It's something that's been on our radar since 2004, at least.’”
“In terms of a strategy, we want to do well by our customers. Whether that translates into something that RIM develops or licenses or pays for a third party to build, I can't say at this point,” the RIM source said. “We're trying the best that we can to get a better experience out for Mac users.”
This could include a sharper focus on over-the-air services such as synchronisation not to a PC but into ‘the cloud’, which hints at RIM implementing something similar to Apple’s MobileMe service.
“Our long-term strategy is to be able to keep the user going without requiring them to be connected to the desktop for anything,” CIO’s source said. “That's the ultimate aim.”