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Friday, August 31, 2007, 08:05 am PT (11:05 am ET)

Apple to launch ringtone service for iPhone users

Apple during its media event next Wednesday plans to unveil a new ringtone service that will allow iPhone users to turn almost any song sold through iTunes into a ringtone for an additional fee, according to the NY Post.

While the exact pricing for the service is unclear at this point, a source suggested to the New York paper that the ringtones may be marketed as enhanced downloads in much the same way Apple offers high-quality, unprotected music files from EMI.

Apple will also allow users to convert songs they have previously purchased through iTunes into a ringtone.

"In a new twist, iPhone users will have the ability to choose any part of the song they want as their ringtone," the Post said. "Most major ringtone offerings from Verizon, AT&T or Sprint feature pre-determined samples."

For consumers who don't want to design personalized ringtones, Apple will reportedly also sell traditional music ringtones.

Revenues from the sale of ringtones in the U.S. topped $600 million in 2006, up from $68 million in 2003, according to BMI, a collection society for songwriters and publishers. Meanwhile, worldwide sales last year are reported to have totaled $3.5 billion.