World Cup distraction becomes hit iPhone app

Mimic of plastic trumpet downloaded over a million times

AMSTERDAM -- Perhaps it was only a matter of time until the vuvuzela became a runaway hit on the iPhone.

An application that mimics the incessant blasting of the plastic African trumpet, which has become inexorably linked with the World Cup in South Africa, has been downloaded more than a million times.

Ironically, the app was designed by a Dutch duo. The Dutch have been the most vociferous in their disdain for the cacophonous horn, with coach Bert van Marwijk banning them from his team's training sessions and Dutch striker Robin van Persie blaming vuvuzelas on his inability to hear a referee's whistle.

"It's the Vuvuzela jackpot," said Jeroen Retrae, co-designer of the iVuvuzela.

After gaining only a few thousand downloads since its launch eight months ago, downloads exploded after the start of the tournament, mostly from the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

More than 81,000 votes on the website Banvuvuzela.com call for a vuvuzela ban (9,000 voted for keeping it) but World Cup organizers have made clear it will stay.

The iVuvuzela app can produce about 90 decibels of noise on Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, while the real horn belts out more than 130 decibels.

"But you can always hook your iPhone up to an amplifier," said iVuvuzela's other co-designer Lyan van Furth.
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