Apple drops Ringtones tab from iTunes (updated)

Apple shows a slightly different interface for the iPhone portion of iTunes in the new Activation and Sync video posted today. It appears that Apple has dropped support for ringtone managment via iTunes in the launch version of iTunes for iPhone.

Apple shows a slightly different interface for the iPhone portion of iTunes in the new Activation and Sync video posted today. It appears that Apple has dropped support for ringtone managment via iTunes in the launch version of iTunes for iPhone.

Here's a screen grab from Job's iPhone demonstration at Macworld Expo in January. You can see a video clip showing this screen, it happens with about 1:16 remaining in the clip.

iTunes ringtone tab

In it you can clearly see a "Ringtones" tab (third from the left) and a tab for "Personal."

Apple appears to have dropped both the "Ringtones" and the "Personal" tabs from the iTunes interface seen in the Activation and Sync video posted today.

iTunes without Ringtones

The new "Info" tab is where you select which contacts, calendars, mail acounts and bookmarks you want to sync with your iPhone.

It's only the launch version of iTunes for iPhone and is bound to change over time. Perhaps Apple hasn't yet secured the rights to allow iTunes tracks as ringtones or (more likely) they're planning on selling ringtones directly from the iTunes store.

Update: The Register reported back in December 2005 that Apple cancelled its plan of offering mobile ringtones via the iTunes store:

“iRingTones”, as we’ll call it, integrated ringtone downloads into the iTunes Music Store, and would have allowed users to remix ringtones before beaming them to the phone via Bluetooth. It was to be a headline feature of iLife ‘06, the annual upgrade to Apple’s digital media consumer suite that receives its annual refresh at the San Francisco show.

Apple has added audio books, podcasts and videos to the iTunes Music Store since it launched in 2003, and is expected to unveil satellite radio integration in the future. The cellular networks charge between $1 and $4 for a single ringtone and obviously don’t want to lose this huge revenue to Apple. Apparently ringtones are their No 2 source for data revenue after SMS.

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