I recently made the transition from minimalist, pay-as-you-go phone user to a new iPhone. Between making lots of extra calls on my phone for work and my geek-lust for GPS in a phone it was a no-brainer. I was actually fairly happy with my old phone, a Motorola v195 that I chose specifically because it was unlocked, had bluetooth file transfers and syncing with iCal and the Mac address book. Of course the iPhone has all that, but I wasn’t able to transfer all my custom mp3 ringtones that I’d made to it. Mr. Chippy pointed me to making them in Garage Band, but this was slow and tedious. I had them already as MP3s, I just needed to batch convert them all to the proper format. Enter Max, a handy OSX audio file converter (and great CD-ripper). I configured it to output “3GP Audio (AAC)” and batch-converted my mp3 ringtones to .3gp files. Apparently if you rename these with the .m4r and drop them into iTunes, they magically become ringtones for uploading. Here’s a screenshot of the Automator bulk rename, it’s a handy trick (I’m getting lazy on the Bash scripting).
If you’re interested, here’s a tarball containing the ringtones (Autechre, Mr. Lif, Stetsasonic, Aerosmith, Slick Rick, The Price is Right, Strauss, Raising Arizona).