Only Mostly Evil

There’s a new update for GarageBand that adds a “Send to Ringtones” item to the “Share” menu.

That’s kind of cool, just because it means I can finally start using “Apache” by the Sugarhill Gang as my ringtone again.

But what’s more cool is that it’s a sign there’s still remnants of a soul left somewhere in Apple. Charging users a buck to make their own ringtones is pretty standard in the cell phone business, but it was a downer seeing it put into place by a company that was claiming to “think different.”

Steve Jobs got a ton of good PR for putting himself forward as the guy who was going to stick it to the record companies. And part of the whole design manifesto behind the iPhone is that they were making a cell phone that worked like phones should work, instead of whatever business practices the cartel of manufacturers and service providers had already established.

If they’re acknowledging that you should be able to use your own music as a ringtone — and quietly acknowledging, instead of drawing a lot of attention to how incredibly generous it is of them to let you copy files from one place to another — that’s an encouraging sign for the SDK. Maybe there’s still hope they’ll do the right thing.

Of course, I still won’t have any time to write anything for the damn phone, and I suspect by now I’ve forgotten how to program. But it’ll be useful for future occasions when I decide to start moralizing about a consumer electronics and software company.