At a special event in San Francisco today, Apple's Steve Jobs announced that a new version of iTunes (download for Windows or Mac; CNET review) will allow users to create their own ringtones from more than 500,000 songs in the iTunes store. The ringtones will cost 99 cents, in addition to the price of the songs themselves. The custom ringtones can last up to 30 seconds and can be created from any section of a song.
The new version of iTunes, expected later tonight, will eventually add a bell icon next to songs in the iTunes store that are eligible to become ringtones. Although the update is scheduled for a release today, the ringtone feature will not be available until sometime next week.
The kicker, of course, is that the ringtones will only work on the Apple iPhone. However, considering that the pricey little device topped all smart phones for U.S. unit sales in July, there should be a lot of people who will appreciate the new ringtones feature in the new iTunes.