iTunes 10: So Long, Ringtone Creator – Thanks for the Memories

On September 3rd, Apple released its 10th iteration of the incredibly popular iTunes application in the last nine years. While some interesting additional functionality was added (behold the “Ping” feature, which integrates social media and music), savvy iTunes users noticed some things were missing, including the Ringtone Creator.

The ringtone creator was first introduced in iTunes version 7.4, released in September of 2007. The feature allowed users to take mp3s located in their iTunes libraries and, for a nominal fee of $0.99, transform a snippet of the mp3 into a ringtone usable with their iPhone.

itunes-10The ringtone feature, though appreciated at least in the cosmetic sense by Apple enthusiasts, overall seemed like a head scratcher to the average Apple user. After all, why would you buy a song for $0.99 and then pay another $0.99 to have the privilege of it alerting you to an incoming call? $2 for a ringtone is a bit steep; while Apple defended their pricing as a result of the stingy licensing of the music industry, they eventually got the hint (3 years later) that no one in their right mind would pay that much for a customized ringtone.

In fact, today no one in their right mind would pay a dime for a customized ringtone. There are so many free online applications that will let you customize a ringtone from an mp3 on your computer in under three minutes that charging for a ringtone is clearly a stunt catering only to the lazy or severely technologically challenged.

Mobile17, a dotcom start-up by a college kid, has gone from campy dorm-room experiment to an honest to goodness business. After creating a free account, the user has the ability to upload any mp3 onto the Mobile17 server and select the exact start and end point of their desired ringtone. You can select clips up to a minute in length, and after you fill in specific information about your phone and carrier (for proper processing purposes), the clip will be processed and emailed or texted to your phone. You simple download onto your phone and select the ringtone from your library. Voila – your free, customized ringtone has been created and delivered in no time!

While Mobile17 was among the first to offer such a service, there are now dozens of site online that perform similar processes. When choosing a site to make your free ringtone, just remember to be smart of who you share your information with and what information you share. Unless you buy some kind of a ringtone package from a reputable site (look for that Better Business Bureau seal and official credit card logos!), do not share your address, credit card, or social security number with anyone. Lots of sites try to lure in naïve internet users with free services like “make your own ringtones” as a way to gain access to their personal information. When in doubt about a site’s credibility, do a Google search on site name along with the term “review” to see what comes up – the nice thing about the internet is that if someone has a bad experience or gets scammed, they are not shy talking about it!

It’s a free ringtone world, and while the idea of the iTunes ringtone creator will be missed, chances are the actual service won’t be missed at all – in fact, from the internet chatter around the issue, few people noticed (or cared). But thanks for trying iTunes/Apple; the mark of a great company isn’t the number of failed ideas it has, but the number of good ones.


About the Author: Vernon Marker is both a music and Apple product fanatic. He is always ahead of the curve when it comes to new releases and prides herself on having the coolest before anyone else! In his free time he loves to travel and attend as many concerts as possible.

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