"Today we get to talk about music", said Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple after walking on stage at the "Beat goes on" press event in the usual black turtle neck sweater, blue jeans and white trainers.

Boasting 600 million downloads of the iTunes software to date and 6,000,000 songs in the catalogue, Jobs claimed Apple is the number one music download store in the 22 countries it operates.

Confirming the launch of ringtones for the iPhone, Jobs said that iTunes will be getting a new software update from tonight to allow users to make their own ringtones from within iTunes.

Customers will have to pay an additional 99 cents on top of the price of the song. They will then be able to make a ringtone from one of the 500,000 tracks available by selecting the section of the track they want to use.

The tunes that are available as ringtones will have a little bell symbol next to them in iTunes. If you already own the track in your iTunes, you don't need to download it again - although you will need to cough up the extra 99 cents.

It will also be possible to customise ringtones, as with other mobiles, so that you can select certain tracks to play when particular people are calling. Heavy metal for the mother-in-law is the oh-so-playful suggestion in the official Apple literature.

It will then be possible to sync the new tone directly with their iPhone via iTunes. The software will be available from Weds 5th with the song service going live next week.

This will no doubt prove popular - no ringtones was considered a grave omission from the device's launch, but having to pay twice for the same tune might be a bit painful, although no different from many mobile operator's offerings.

Additional reporting by Amy-Mae Elliott.