Apple have obviously had enough of third-party software hacks taking advantage of the lack of official iPhone ringtone creator; at today's Special Event they've launched a new version of iTunes that, among other things, lets you buy ringtones from a choice of 500,000 tracks from the catalogue for the princely sum of $0.99. That's $0.99 on top of the cost of the track itself, adding up to a not-insignificant $1.98.
Plug in your iPhone and iTunes will indicate which tracks can be edited as ringtones. Make a 30 second selection, add fade-in and fade-out if you want (or leave it raw for that "surprising Meatloaf crescendo" we know you secretly love) and then sync them across to your iPhone.
It's good to have an official method, and I've no doubt that people will use it, but considering the third-party software is out there to take any mp3 and make a ringtone free, this does seem a case of Apple milking its advantage in the market. The new service will be available from next week.