Hasta La Victoria: Che Guevara iPhone App

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Now you can carry around quotes like “The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall,” from Che Guevara on your iPhone. (Irony not included.)

Guevara, launched Feb. 12 for $0.99 or €.79, is the latest app in the iTunes store to capitalize on lightning rod figures. Not to be confused with iChe, another Italian-developed app released four days later, Guevara features notable quotes from the Argentine revolutionary and guerilla war tactician in English, Spanish, French and Italian.

All of these apps were approved first for the Italian iTunes store but are for sale in others, including the US store, too.

The first of its kind was iMussolini, an app featuring famous quotes and speeches of the Fascist ruler. Despite a storm of complaints, iMussolini was only yanked for a week over copyright issues.  Once ranked no. 2 in the Italian app store, developer Luigi Marino tells us his creation has been dowloaded 8,000 times so far. It is once again for sale, along with another similar app of Mussolini’s speeches.

It seems there is a kind of double standard for quote apps of controversial figures: the US iTunes store features six apps of Dalai Lama teachings and quotes, but these were all removed from China’s iTunes store leading to cries of censorship.

The Guevara app, given a +12 rating for “mild or infrequent horror/ fear /violence themes”  was developed by two 30-something Italian IT consultants who have created another five apps on the iTunes store.

As far as we know, there have been no formal complaints to Apple about the El Che quote app. (Apple has not responded to our requests for comment).

Cult of Mac talked in exclusive with one of the developers of Guevara, Marcantonio Magnarapa, about an iPad version, the approval process and iMussolini.

Cult of Mac: How did you come up with the idea?

Marcantonio Magnarapa: We came up with the idea of a Che Guevara iPhone app while talking about the man behind the revolutionary –  inspired by the Steven Soderbergh movie, actually.

However you might feel about his actions, there is no doubt that his words strike a chord in every one, independent of the era or place. His thoughts are as relevant today as they were back in his day.

We are not promoting any kind of action based on Ernesto “Che” Guevara history, though, nor we are trying to spread propaganda. The “Guevara” app simply aims to let people think about his words and, in the end, share them with others.

CoM: How long did it take to make?

MM: It would be a bit hard to quantify the exact amount of time it took to create the application, but overall, I’d say it just took a few days. The iPhone development environment tends to work with you, as opposed to against you.

CoM: Where did the material come from?

MM: We rely on a several different, public sources for all the languages we support — currently English, Spanish, French and Italian. We are looking to add additional languages soon. Of course, we respect the intellectual property rights of others and copyright holders and we will honor all requests – should some of our content turn out to be non-public.

At the same time, we are looking for other sources to enrich the application with more original quotes and features.

CoM: Who is the app aimed at?

MM: Everyone interested in Che Guevara’s message, supporters, but especially those interested in sharing and spreading that message: the application makes it easy to share quotes via Twitter/Facebook, email or text messages.

CoM: What do you think about iMussolini?

MM: We’ve been sometimes associated with the iMussolini application that recently generated public clamor. While we appreciate the intention of the developer and certainly advocate freedom of speech, we do feel that some figures are more controversial than others and we are not, in any way, associated with the application.


CoM
: What the app store approval process was like?

MM: Something happened after last year’s “iTunes Connect” blackout: our experience with the app store in 2010 has been so far excellent. The approval process is now very quick and usually trouble-free, with app approval times often as short as 4 to 5 days. We’re very satisfied.

CoM: What other apps are you working on?

MM: We’re working on a iPad application, roughly based on Guevara.

We’ve also just updated Quids, an easy app to keep track of your American Express card balance (worldwide, with many countries being added).