While the exact pricing for the service is unclear at this point, a source suggested to the New York paper that the ringtones may be marketed as enhanced downloads in much the same way Apple offers high-quality, unprotected music files from EMI.
Apple will also allow users to convert songs they have previously purchased through iTunes into a ringtone.
"In a new twist, iPhone users will have the ability to choose any part of the song they want as their ringtone," the Post said. "Most major ringtone offerings from Verizon, AT&T or Sprint feature pre-determined samples."
For consumers who don't want to design personalized ringtones, Apple will reportedly also sell traditional music ringtones.
Revenues from the sale of ringtones in the U.S. topped $600 million in 2006, up from $68 million in 2003, according to BMI, a collection society for songwriters and publishers. Meanwhile, worldwide sales last year are reported to have totaled $3.5 billion.