iPhone ringtones are slightly different than other ringtones. First of all the format is based on MPEG-4 but renamed to have an M4R extension (R for ringtone) and secondly the sound spectrum is quite different from other mobile phones.
MPEG-4 Part 14 was based on Apple’s QuickTime container format. MPEG-4 Part 14 is essentially identical to the QuickTime MOV format, but formally specifies support for Initial Object Descriptors (IOD) and other MPEG features.
.MP4 versus .M4A and .M4R file extensions
The existence of different file extensions for naming audio-only MP4 files has been a source of confusion among users and multimedia playback software. Since MPEG-4 Part 14 is a container format, MPEG-4 files may contain any number of audio, video, and even subtitle streams, making it impossible to determine the type of streams in an MPEG-4 file based on its filename extension alone.
In response, Apple Inc. started using and popularizing the .m4a file extension. Software capable of audio/video playback should recognize files with either .m4a or .mp4 file extensions, as would be expected, as there are no file format differences between the two. Most software capable of creating MPEG-4 audio will allow the user to choose the filename extension of the created MPEG-4 files.
The same is true for .m4r which essentially is the same as an .m4a file but with a different extension. The dedicated extension ensures that when an .m4r file is dragged to iTunes for example - the ringtone is automatically recognized and installed - ready to be synced with the iPhone.
iPhone audio specifications
- Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
- Audio formats supported: AAC, Protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 1, 2, and 3), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
- User-configurable maximum volume limit
Download some cool iPhone ringtones from the free iTunes feed.
History of ring tones
The very first commercial mobile ring tones were created and delivered in Finland in 1998 when a Finnish mobile operator Radiolinja (today named Elisa) started a service named Harmonium which made it posible to download mobile ring tones.
The Harmonium service, which was invented by Vesa-Matti Pananen, contained both tools for individuals to create monophonic ring tones and a mechanism to deliver them over-the-air (OTA) via SMS to mobile handsets. The service concept spread very quickly in Europe and Asia and developed into a multi-billion dollar industry.
The ring tone service was one of the very first successful m-commerce services, with social media features like composing, sharing, and rating ring tones. The Harmonium also quickly created a market for high-quality professional ring tones and commercial ring tone libraries.
The rise of video games has also contributed to the popularity of ring tones. On August 5, 2006, the BBC described "free ring tones" as a dangerous search term, because of the risk of malware and other malicious websites.
By 2005, ring tones generated more than $2 billion in annual worldwide revenues which is not competing on revenue with for example online casino gambling but still very significant. . Real tones, which are often excerpts from pop songs, have become popular as ring tones.
Types of ring tones
A monophonic ring tone is simply a series of notes, one musical note at a time.
A polyphonic ring tone can consist of several notes at a time. The first polyphonic ring tones used sequenced recording methods such as MIDI. Such recordings specify what synthetic instrument should play a note at a given time, and the actual instrument sound is dependent upon the playback device.
A truetone (also known as "realtone", "mastertone", "superphonic ringtone" or "audio recording") is simply an audio recording, typically in a common format such as "MP3", AAC, or WMA, and represents the latest evolution of the ring tone. Truetones, which are often excerpts from songs, have become popular as ring tones.
Introduction to RingtoneFeeder
RingtoneFeeder is making use of the fact that iPhone ringtones have their own specific extension and sync up via iTunes. We use a premium RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed to distribute the weekly original ringtones optimized for the iPhone.
Weekly iPhone ringtones
Every week we produce a short but usually happy video introducing the iPhone ringtone of the week so new potential subscribers can get an idea about what it sounds like without being a subscriber.
You can listen to the previous releases using the navigation arrows in the YouTube video below.