UPDATE TO ARTICLE: New iPhone Ringtones Service launched that works for UK iPhone users.

So the one and only thing that disappoints me about the iPhone is the fact that we still can’t ringtones in the UK. Back in September ’07, an Apple press release stated that "custom iTunes ringtones for iPhone will be available later this month".

I spoke with the Apple’s PR department whom simply referred me to the same press release, and couldn’t give any more information when I pressed them for an updated launch date.

So I called O2. They said it was nothing to do with them, and suggested I speak with their legal department when I reminded them that their own online and printed marketing material stated that ringtones were available for the iPhone.

Now. I have considerable experience in mobile content, having spent many years working for companies that provide ringtones, games and other downloads to mobile users, and the only thing holding this up are the commercial agreements.

The technology is in place. Our iPhones and the iTunes software are ready, able and willing. It’s the contracts with the music labels that are stopping you and I getting ringtones on out iPhones.

Also, I personally have a bit of an issue with the fact that Apple and its iTunes software have such a strangle hold on the ringtone market for iPhones, and I’m guessing that ringtones providers around the world are sobbing that they can’t get in on the action. Especially when you consider that the UK users can’t even get them from Apple.

The actual process for getting ringtones on your iPhone is really quite clever, and working well in the USA.

[from the Apple press Release]

iTunes customers create custom ringtones by selecting up to a 30-second segment from over a million participating songs on iTunes and sync them onto their iPhone.

Once a customer has purchased a participating song from iTunes, including previously purchased participating songs, it costs 79 pence to make up to a 30-second segment of that song into a ringtone and easily sync it onto their iPhone.

Customers can personalise their ringtones by choosing which portion of the song they want to use, and setting custom fade in and fade out points. iPhone users can assign a custom ringtone to be their default ringtone and they can also assign them to individual callers in their address book.

Customers still have full use of the originally purchased song.

[end]

Ahh, but if it were only true!