iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware

Get answers about syncing the current release of MediaMonkey with iPods and other devices.

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romonster

Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by romonster » Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:17 pm

I echo fros1y's sentiment. Well stated, fros1y.

fros1y
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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by fros1y » Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:38 pm

Tragically, ronmonster, no developer seems to agree with us.

For those of you who are following this thread, I thought I'd update it with some solid speculations on what the problem is with the syncing. I hope this is old news to the developers, but I haven't seen this posted in the forums.

At some point in the past, Apple started putting a special value in the iTunesDB file on their iPod's called a hash. This is a number calculated based on the contents of the music library, along with a secret key. Hashes can be used to make sure that files aren't corrupted, but since Apple has incorporated a secret key into the hash it is in fact a cryptographic hash. Eventually, hackers were able to reverse engineer both the algorithm used to calculate that hash and discover the secret key to form it. This knowledge was widely shared and incorporated into both open and closed source programs and libraries designed to write new iTunesDBs.

With the iPhone 2.0 firmware, Apple has changed the hash key. The past work is now no longer very applicable. Now this is not insurmountable. iTunes on your computer is able to calculate the hash and write the correct magic number into the iTunesDB. That means that the code, and the key, are somewhere within iTunes. Apple, however, has anticipated this line of attach. The code and the key are obfuscated, or made intentionally difficult to unravel, even with debuggers and disassemblers. If a team spends enough time however, this will inevitably be cracked.

But that's the whole problem! Apple can do this over and over again. It costs them very little. Each firmware+iTunes bump could break this. In fact, future updates to normal iPods could change the hash too. There doesn't seem to be anything special about this on the iPhone or iPod Touch. In the long run, Apple can probably always win and you should probably never count on MediaMonkey, or other syncing apps, for the long term.

There are groups working on the new hash. I wish the best of luck. http://bluwiki.com/go/Ipodhash is pretty clear on the goal. You can also follow, since MediaMonkey development is apparently pretty closed on this, open source projects such as http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/foru ... kpod-devel

By the way, this explains why MediaMonkey can see your music and copy music onto the device, but why the iPhone immediately sees no music--by syncing, MediaMonkey writes a bogus hash. In theory, a jailbroken iPhone might be patched to ignore the hash. That might be a more stable solution that the continual reversal of the hash key.

So what's going on with MediaMonkey? It's possible that the dev team is hard at work trying to reverse this hash, but doesn't want to talk about it for legal reasons or fear of giving away their techniques on how they do it--to Apple or competitors. But I think it's more likely that they're waiting for an open source / independent team does the very hard work of getting that hash cracked. Then they can just drop it into the player along with all of the other iPod syncing projects.

Guest

Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by Guest » Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:49 pm

THIS SAYS IT ALL, WHY ARE THERE STILL SO MANY COMPLAINTS, WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE WANT??

"For those of you who are itching to use their iPhone 3G or iPhone/iPod Touch using the new 2.x firmware with MediaMonkey, be aware that MediaMonkey 3.0.3 does not yet support the new iPhone/firmware. We're hard at work on a solution, so hold off on upgrading your device if possible."

jasongrimme
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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by jasongrimme » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:16 am

I thought you were supposed to check device compatability before running software on it or against it, not after? Isn't that what things like support pages and forums are for? Or are they simply a place for lazy people to complain?

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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by nynaevelan » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:20 am

:lol: :wink:
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cosnet
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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by cosnet » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:11 pm

I thought you were supposed to check device compatability before running software on it or against it, not after? Isn't that what things like support pages and forums are for? Or are they simply a place for lazy people to complain?
Well yes that is true but it looks to me that it caught the developers by surprise too, based on their response. A good company would also warn potential buyers and good software would check before it would mess up the device that it was not compatible. I admit I was so excited that something supported the iphone and I did not read the fine print but then again there were no warning labels or fine print when reading about the product. I would have to have gone to the support site to find that out. Support sites are meant for people who already have a product. Also you might be computer savvy but many people are just users and don't have the time nor desire to be a geek and so the software needs to warn or not sync. Like other applications. Are we lazy maybe but so are the developers for not doing version checking.

jasongrimme
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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by jasongrimme » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:24 pm

You're right, making assumptions is always the best way to go about it - please accept my *geek* apology. Your words have cut me to the bone, I'm not sure I'll ever recover.

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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by nynaevelan » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:36 pm

cosnet wrote:
Well yes that is true but it looks to me that it caught the developers by surprise too, based on their response. A good company would also warn potential buyers and good software would check before it would mess up the device that it was not compatible. I admit I was so excited that something supported the iphone and I did not read the fine print but then again there were no warning labels or fine print when reading about the product. I would have to have gone to the support site to find that out. Support sites are meant for people who already have a product. Also you might be computer savvy but many people are just users and don't have the time nor desire to be a geek and so the software needs to warn or not sync. Like other applications. Are we lazy maybe but so are the developers for not doing version checking.
So using that logic I should expect to find warnings/messages on Microsoft's, Winamps, Itunes etc.... pages/documentation whether an update which Creative creates will interfere or destroy my product? Or better yet, Apple, Microsoft, Creative, Sansa or any other portable device should send notification to all vendors/companies when they are creating updates to their products in order for these vendors to provide updates to their customers in advance?

I don't know if it is my confusion on why so many users are expecting the MM developers to have reacted before the firmware was released. Apple releases these type of firmware updates in order to prevent third-party programs from using their products. And it would not surprise me if each update became harder and harder for developers of any programs to "hack" into them. Which means that the MM developers cannot create a "fix" for them quickly.

My second point of confusion is that many users demanded that the developers add a message to the News page to warn potential customers of the incompatibility of the firmware, which they did and now there are still demands that it should be included somewhere else.

And my third point of confusion is why the MM developers are being held accountable for the actions of the developers of ipods. I am fully aware that MM depends on ipod users to support and buy their product, and with that information in mind they are working to ensure these users can still use MM with their devices.

And my final point of confusion, I am aware that most people are not computer savvy and would not know to check a website or documentation prior to updating firmware, BUT the responsibility is not the developers to ensure your device works when you update it, it is yours. I have yet to read any user demanding that Apple update their website to say any firmware updates will cause the product to cease working with the device. Or any complaints that Apple created the firmware in the first place. But I digress, is it the "average" user that is venturing away from the use of itunes with the device?

Signed One VERY confused MM user,

Nyn
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cosnet
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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by cosnet » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:15 pm

I am not going to get into a pissing match with you. The fact is, the manufacturers you mention do the things I listed. Maybe you should stay away from shareware and you might know that. Gee-- in fact my iphone when I plugged it in told me to update my iTunes which I did.. and it worked! Now it is not a requirement that all software does that. I am saying, the better packages do. Are you saying that software should not warn you of a potential version issue? That is what it sounds like. I think you should really argue about things that matter..
I now see that you are short sided and cannot resist arguing about nonsense so I will let you have the last word. My point is well made and your argument is flawed.
tootaloo!

Is that better?.. trying to work and respond to nonsense.. sorry to the grammar police - fingers in motion before brain in gear :D
Last edited by cosnet on Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jasongrimme
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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by jasongrimme » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:40 pm

Your grammer really helps support your point. Well done.

fros1y
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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by fros1y » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:23 pm

This is really ridiculous. Instead of being shocked at the complete lack of meaningful comment by the developers of Ventis Media, we're going to start trolling each other based on grammar and smilies? I trust no one will see fit to try and respond to these arguments with ad hominem attacks on my grammar.

Let's take a walk through the threads of the argument so far.

First, two arguments that strike me as most irrelevant. They're about the past, and I'm not that interested in the past.

1) Ventis Media couldn't know that the new iPhone 2.0 firmware would not work with their software before it was released
False. See, e.g., for instructions on installing a beta copy of the iPhone firmware. Circa April. http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=896 .
But it's also irrelevant, now that we're 1+ month from a launch of millions of iPhones and the release of 2.0 firmware that most users have already installed in their first-gen devices.

2) Ventis Media couldn't/shouldn't have designed MediaMonkey to detect the incompatibility.

False. You could definitely detect the new version of the iPhone, or more properly the iTunesDB file. The format has changed. Now those people commenting that Apple has no duty to tell Ventis Media anything and that Apple is, in fact, actively antagonistic towards non-iTunes players are obviously right. But they've missed the point! If Apple is out to screw the MediaMonkey players of the world, should that engender more caution and paranoia in the MediaMonkey software to make sure everything is as expected?

Furthermore, a news posting suggesting that people not update a full month after the update became available is just silly. Closed barn door, meet escaped horse. Additionally, where is MediaMonkey Version 3.0.3a that correctly stops itself from nuking an iPhone 2.0?

Here are the issues which matter--and I'll note that no one really seems to be taking them to heart.

1) Does Apple's hostility, combined with Ventis Media's slow update to MediaMonkey, not strongly suggest that iPhone users would best avoid using non-iTunes clients for the foreseeable future?

2) Does the inability to have meaningful (And no, "we're working on it" is most assuredly not meaningful) contact from the developers of MediaMonkey suggest that MediaMonkey development may have problems dealing with these types of changes?

At the very least, doesn't it make you worry about #1? Even in some glorious hour when Ventis releases the next MediaMonkey with full iPhone 2.0 support, what makes you think that Apple won't just change the design for the iPhone 2.1 firmware? Or the 2.0.2 firmware?

botijo
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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by botijo » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:46 pm

fros1y wrote:But that's the whole problem! Apple can do this over and over again. It costs them very little. Each firmware+iTunes bump could break this. In fact, future updates to normal iPods could change the hash too. There doesn't seem to be anything special about this on the iPhone or iPod Touch. In the long run, Apple can probably always win and you should probably never count on MediaMonkey, or other syncing apps, for the long term.
Do you mean that Apple really could change the hash key with their abundant iTunes and firmware upgrades? As far as I have heard, from July 11th, there have been already two small firmware versions (2.0.2 at the moment). This is really hard to endure.

fros1y
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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by fros1y » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:56 pm

botijo wrote:Do you mean that Apple really could change the hash key with their abundant iTunes and firmware upgrades? As far as I have heard, from July 11th, there have been already two small firmware versions (2.0.2 at the moment). This is really hard to endure.
Well Botjio, I have no idea if they would, but they absolutely could repeatedly change the hash. Now, it is true that once Apple introduced the hash to the iPod iTunesDB some years ago, they have not changed it. This is despite the very public breaking of the hash. It's what MediaMonkey still relies on. There have obviously been new iPod models and new iPod firmwares since then. That would seem to suggest that Apple doesn't actually care all that much--but then why put a cryptographic hash on in the first place? This has always been a bit confusing.

The iPhone 1.0 used, AFAIK, the same hashing key as the other iPods, so there is obviously no clear reason why it would need to be different on the iPhone at all. It was not until iPhone 2.0 came around that this hash key was changed. We could speculate that this is because Apple very much does not want to give Apps that arrived with 2.0 the ability to modify the iTuneDB.

In order to keep the treadmill going, all Apple has to do is release a new iTunes and a new firmware each time they want to change the key. Even assuming that they don't create releases just for that purpose, iTunes updates are very frequent. iPhone firmware releases look like they'll be more frequent and important than iPod firmware releases, if only because the 2.0 software seems to have abundant issues to fix.

And remember, Apple can do all of this without breaking any read-only compatibility they might want to preserve with 3rd party devices and Apps. The hash only comes into play when you sync.

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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by nynaevelan » Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:02 pm

This is my last comment and then I am going to back out of the conversation. I am technically the owner of an ipod, but since it is my son's player I have no idea how it works. I am curious, how does the itunes software communicate with the ipod, when you open itunes are you required to update to the latest version? Is there an option to update or not, and are there any warnings? I am not trying to be confrontational, I just want to understand the interaction between the ipod and itunes. With the Creative Zen products you have to go to their website to get the latest firmware. I am not sure if their software had a portion to update within it, I have not used the software that came with my Zens in a long time. Another question, what are the purposes of the firmwares besides fixing software problems? Are the updates necessary for the ipod to continue functioning as it did when you purchased it? As I stated earlier, technically I own my son's ipod but I do not know anything about them and unless he is having a problem with the software on his computer, I tend to not get involved. I did just ask him if he updates his firmware and he stated he has not updated any since he first received it in December. He has the Classic, I think, it is the one that is 160gb.

I hope someone answers my questions because I would really like to know.

Also, if my statements during these conversations have offended anyone, then I apologize. I guess my expectations of what software companies should provide is different than some. But I am also a little jaded, I've dealt with both good and bad companies, but in my many years of various products I have rarely seen the level of support and communication that some are demanding of the Ventis developers. I wish there was a company that was able to meet 100% of my expectations, but until that happens I will continue on as I have been, enjoying my products until I decide to move on to something better. :)

Nyn
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cosnet
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Re: iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 Firmware isn't compatible with MM

Post by cosnet » Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:33 pm

am curious, how does the itunes software communicate with the ipod, when you open itunes are you required to update to the latest version?
Yes you are required to update to a compatible version of software when you plug in an iPhone 3g but of course you don't have to update an older iPhone unless you go to version 2 of the firmware. Also you are notified when there are updates to any Apple application you have installed like Quicktime or iTunes. The App Store application on the iphone will also automatically notify you of any updates to applications without even connecting to the Computer. Of course you can opt to not update any.
The firmware update is the first page in iTunes when you plug in your iphone. It is the summary page and it tells you your current version of firmware and there is a button to check for firmware updates. I thought it was also automatic but maybe not as I pushed it just now and I see we have firmware version 2.0.2

On the ipod as opposed to iphone. It works similar and as with the iphone you can opt to not do the firmware upgrade if you don't want to.
Last edited by cosnet on Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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