BBC may silence vuvuzela but iPhone users love them

Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:08am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - The sound of vuvuzela trumpets in World Cup broadcasts may be silenced by the BBC following hundreds of complaints but the incessant drone has become a runaway hit with iPhone users.

"It's one option we are considering at the moment," said a BBC spokeswoman, adding that 545 complaints had been received about the ear-splitting noise which has become the unofficial World Cup soundtrack.

An iPhone application that mimics the blasting of the African trumpet, however, 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 at

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.

The iVuvuzela app can produced 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 partner Lyan van Furth.

(Reporting by Keith Weir in London and Harro ten Wolde in Amsterdam, Editing by Nigel Hunt)

<p>A soccer fan in silhouette blows a vuvuzela before the start of the 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match between New Zealand and Slovakia at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg June 15, 2010. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez</p>