iRingPro is Changing the Sound of the iPhone

iRingPro.com makes ringtones. But don’t confuse these ringtones for the kind of annoying racket you’re used to. In utter disregard of popular convention, the company has created a refined and minimalist collection of tones that actually sound, well, civilized.

“As a population, we have uncritically accepted certain attributes of a ringing phone.” says iRingPro founder Joel Hladecek, “The insistence of the sound, it’s volume, duration, the short period of silence between rings; all of these conventions were put in place well over 40 years ago when phones were few – usually located far away in a distant room, wired and immobile. Back then phones simply had to make obnoxious sounds at high volumes with urgency and insistence to beckon its owners to come running. And although the basis of those conventions are virtually irrelevant today, our phones, even those as sophisticated as the iPhone, still exhibit those early era behaviors.”

Hladecek noted that in contrast to those phones of yesterday, today our phones are always with us, they goes where we go. More often than not that includes into quiet settings where considerate behavior is preferred. Today’s phones are at arms reach, requiring only a moment to answer. And as these mobile devices have become more sophisticated and ubiquitous, so has the user-base with regard to their interest in customizing and fine-tuning their phone’s behavior. Today, even complete strangers are evaluating cell-phone users on the qualities of their ringtones, and usually for the worse.

Hladecek points out that popularly available ringtones largely disregard these these factors.

“I’m not saying music-based ringtones don’t have a place in the industry,” said Hladecek, “they do, primarily in the lives of 11-year-old kids. But any adult with a job knows that music ringtones are terrifically unusable in a professional setting. Default factory ringtones on the other hand are renowned annoyers, inspiring eye-rolling and raised blood-pressure. And the irony of vibrate is that it isn’t actually silent at all – in fact – placed on a conference table in a quiet meeting, vibrate results in a grating buzz that will stop any conversation cold.”

Hladecek and his team set out to solve this seemingly modest problem initially for themselves, but reaction to their sounds in public use was so strong they found themselves being encouraged to open and distribute the solution to others. And tens of thousands of ringtones sold, it would seem they are on to something. iRingPro dedicates a portion of every sale to the Children of Nepal, an organization that works tirelessly to help under-priveledged kids in that impoverished part of the world.

“It’s hard to put the effort into perspective but the current Zen Collection, is the result of months of research, recording and mixing. We interviewed hundreds of cell phone users, and produced well over 250 ringtones, every one of which, it was hoped, would pass the tests we designed to rate its quality as a professional ringer and be included in the final 21.”

Every hopeful ringer was loaded on a phone and taken into the field, more often than not a professional setting. It was often immediately clear whether the newly installed sound hit the mark or not. Usually not. The challenge was carving out the narrow ground between alertive and ignorable.

“In our opinion, the perfect ringtone is one that the user can hear clearly, obviously, but critically one that is entirely non disruptive such that people nearby are not annoyed, that the owner can carry on a conversation without being distracted, and that it refrains from startling the user or creating a sense of urgency. And that’s the art.”

Through their research iRingPro discovered that most phone users today actually hear their phone ringing almost instantly. That means that all the rest of that sound is virtually unnecessary noise.

“If the phone unloads an unending stream of noise, then you’ve already missed the mark by a mile. This flaw is ubiquitous in factory ringers and even more so in the unending nature of music clips.”

“Aside from the minimalist nature of the sounds we created, we discovered that lengthening the silence between rings made a big impact on users’ sense of answer-urgency.” said Hladecek. “I have had so many customers now tell me that our solution has changed their relationship with their phone. That they were so accustomed to having incoming calls raise their blood-pressure, that with every ring came a shock of adrenaline and a momentary feeling of panic. That our solution has eliminated that and made receiving phone calls a calm event. Hearing that from customers around the world has been a very gratifying thing. And we’re far from done.”

Hladecek said iRingPro is in production of an upgrade to the current 21-Ringtone Zen Collection. He stressed that the new upgrade will give users even more flexibility and will include a number of new ringtones, and additional new timings of the current sounds as well. He added that the new Zen Collection will be a free upgrade to all existing users of the current product.

Post a Reply

Top