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Wednesday, June 08, 2011, 07:30 am PT (10:30 am ET)

Inside Apple's iOS 5: iTunes Tone Store will offer more text alert options

When iOS 5 is released for the iPhone this fall, users will have the ability to purchase new, custom text message tones from the new iTunes Tone Store.

The new digital storefront is Apple's response to complaints that the company does not offer enough unique sounds to be played when a text message is received. Apple greatly expanded the number of SMS tones last year with iOS 4.2, but the new iTunes Tone Store looks to add even more options.

In the first developer beta of iOS 5, users can enter the iPhone Settings application, and choose "Sounds" and "Text Tone" as they currently can in iOS 4. But in the Text Tone menu, a new link is now available at the top that reads "Buy More Tones."

While the link is included in the operating system, the iTunes Tone Store is not yet live, as iOS 5 will not be available to the masses until this fall. Selecting the link to the store currently launches the mobile iTunes Store application, but users are only presented with the existing Ringtones page.

The new iTunes Tone Store is one of more than 200 user-facing features that will be added to iOS 5. The functionality was glossed over at this week's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, where iOS 5 was shown publicly for the first time.

iTunes Tone Store

The iTunes Tone Store iOS 5 beta link currently directs to the Ringtones store.


The first iOS 5 beta, only available to developers, does not provide any additional text tones built in to the operating system. The collection of tones added with iOS 4.2 remain separated in a list titled "New."

While the new text tones were added with iOS 4.2, they were noticeably longer than the tones originally included in the iPhone operating system. Apple addressed that issue in iOS 4.3, shortening the text tones and also adding new SMS alert settings for repeating up to ten times.