What’s the story behind the iPhone’s default “Marimba” ringtone?

It had never occurred to me the crossover between iPhone ringtones and Apple’s Emagic acquisition.

Speculation within, but I wouldn’t doubt it:

In the very long list of Software instruments is the high quality Orchestra Marimba. This GarageBand / Logic Pro Software instrument marimba is nearly identical to what has become the famous iPhone marimba ringtone. So much so that there are versions that were faithfully reproduced in GarageBand where one could not distinguish a difference with the correct filters and effects. Thus I and a number of people, some inside of Apple, have concluded that Dr. Lengeling may have directly or indirectly created the marimba iPhone ringtone on a Mac using GarageBand / Logic Pro. However this is not apparently officially discussed or otherwise revealed.

Apple/Emagic Takeover in Sound on Sound

From Sound on Sound, September 2002.

It’s interesting to reflect on what the Emagic buyout meant back in 2002. For instance, the speculation of an entry-level music production software which today you may know as Garageband:

…it’s fair to say that the Emagic buyout will probably result in the arrival of some kind of cut-down music application for beginners, possibly bundled with new Macs. Plenty of rumours are in circulation — some of them informed, some merely guesswork — that this might be called iLogic or iMagine, but according to our sources, neither of these is a likely title for what may eventually emerge.

And the suspicion that Apple would be able to support a pro-user base:

…Emagic would now be rolled into Apple entirely, that Emagic’s name would disappear from its products, and that Emagic’s international sales and tech support network would now be in the hands of Apple offices worldwide. Given Apple’s relative lack of experience at directly supporting a user base of pro and semi-pro musicians, this rumour was greeted with dismay at SOS and elsewhere.

The Emagic name hasn’t been associated with Logic since version 7. Logic Audio 6 was imminent around 2002/2003. The full Logic suite, Logic Platinum, all instruments and effects, used to sell for around $1500-$2000. Today you can get all of that in Apple’s Logic Studio for $500, plus more software like loops, Mainstage, and Soundtrack Pro.