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What The iPhone Needs; iPod Library Ringtones

November 18, 2008 by Ryan Ray 

Let’s pause for a second and think back to the dawn of ringtones. They first came about in Japan around 1996, where else did you expect them to come from? Ringtones were available in MIDI format and few were available on those first phones. Eventually came a phone were the user could input a custom composition and use that as their ringtone. The first downloadable ringtone service came from Finland in 1998 by a company called Harmonium which as we all know from there has spread like wildfire and ever increased the easy access and popularity of ringtones. The “Harmonium” contained both a way for people to make their own ringtone and then a delivery method over the SMS system we talked about last time.

In todays cellphone industry ringtones are another side of the tele-comms massive business, besides those pesky text messages that we are far overcharged for! Once ringtones spread from Japan and Finland they became massively popular. They’ve also made great progress in the quality of ringtones since then. Going from the wonderful monophonic, to polyphonic, all the way to the ringtones we enjoy today which are called truetones. These are the ringtones that sound like the real song or sound, which is why they are often called “realtones.” In today’s market these ringtones account for more than 2 billion dollars in revenue. A little insane if you ask me.

But along comes the iPhone, a marvelous and technological breakthrough in the way we think of the phone. A phone that was so complex it can surf the web and it can even run a version of OS X, but it befuddled itself when it came to trying custom ringtones. Sure Apple shipped some of those “awesome” ringtones with the phone. Remember the xylophone, or how about the barking dog? My personal favorite was the blues! But here lies the problem… people ALWAYS crave customization. We all wanted something to make our iPhones OURS. The background was already customized but when someone called our iPhone anyone else in the room with one would of reached into their pocket thinking it could be their iPhone that’s ringing.

The day did come though were we were finally allowed to have our own ringtones. An update to iTunes and we could all purchase already owned songs or new songs for 99 cents as ringtones. For some though that wanted to create their own ringtones soon enough came another update to Garageband. This update allowed you to create ringtones out of any file Garageband would accept. We won’t get into the whole process of creating your own ringtone, perhaps we will later, but for now this brings us up to the current day of iPhone ringtones. 

So how can Apple make their baby iPhone even better. Well simply put… let us pick songs from our iPod as ringtones. How awesome would that be to simply pick a song and then the set the duration from your iPod library. I know I would really love a feature like that. It already exists in iTunes and Apple charges us an extra 99 cents for it. I wonder if it could simply be added to the iPhone?! What do you think of this idea? Can it be done, and how could it be done? If you like ringtones let me know!

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