Apple to Launch Ringtone Service?

NYPost reports that Apple will be launching a ringtone service for iPhone users next week.

The service - expected to be unveiled when Apple announces its new lineup of iPods - would allow users to turn almost any song sold through iTunes into a ringtone for an additional fee. The exact price was unclear.

The service is said to allow users to convert songs they have previously purchased to be turned into a ringtone, with user-controlled ability to choose which portion of the song to use. Beyond that, Apple is said to plan on offering traditional ringtones as well.

Much of this reiterates a rumor earlier this week also suggesting that Apple will introduce ringtone support during the September 5th media event.

The rumors are also consistent with a previous report about Apple's plans to sell custom ringtones.

In the meanwhile, 3rd party developers have stepped up to fill this custom ringtone demand. Ambrosia Software has released their ringtone tool (iToner) for the Mac. Of interest, Ambrosia's iToner is said to install ringtones "the proper way, without any hacks" which should be resilient to future iPhone updates. Windows users have had the option of using iPhoneRingToneMaker.

While both tools are shareware, they do not have a per-ringtone fee that is expected with Apple's service. More adventerous users can use various hacking tools such as iFuntastic.

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