At a special media event in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed plans to release a new version of iTunes this evening that will support all the products that are being announced today. The biggest new feature in iTunes will be ringtone support for the iPhone, which is expected to be released in the UK next month.
"We're going to do ringtones in our own special way," explained Jobs. "And, of course, these are for the iPhone. And what we want is rather than having someone make ringtones for us, we're going to make a custom ringtone maker. We're going to build it into iTunes, and you can make ringtons from many songs available on iTunes including some songs you've already purchased."
Jobs compared iTunes ringtones to the competition, which cost up to $2.49. "Our ringtones, make 'em yourself, you pay another 99 cents to make the ringtone," he said."
Jobs demonstrated how the new feature works using Aretha Franklin's classic soul number "Respect." All of the songs on the iTunes Store that are "ringtonable" will feature a bell icon column in the music list. You click on the bell, the ringtone maker pops up, and you can click and drag to find the part of the song you want to use as a ringtone. iTunes creates a new file in the ringtone folder, and a new tab in Tunes then lets you decide what to sync to your iPhone.
Jobs played "Give Peace A Chance," and then added, "That's [for] when NBC calls," referring to Apple's recent dispute with the TV network, which said it will end its partnership to publish shows on the iTunes Store in December.
More news from the special Apple event here.