Ruled by thumbs? Switzerland as an iPhone nation

What would you do to be first in line for a new iPhone? Keystone

In the decade since the unveiling of the iPhone, the way people use the Internet and mobile phones has completely changed. In Switzerland, Apple’s devices flew off the store shelves – and their popularity has never let up.

This content was published on January 9, 2017 - 16:13
Jo Fahy and Kai Reusser,

Trendsetters who wanted to be among the first Swiss to own an iPhone had to head online or buy the phone from the United States after they were first unveiled in January 2007. However, with the US devices, the SIM cards were locked in those days, so the next problem was to work out how to manually hack the phones, freeing them from use on only one mobile network and enabling use in Switzerland.

“I bought the original iPhone on eBay for about CHF1,300 ($1,277),” Jean-Claude Frick, tech blogger and digital expert at, told He recalled how a community grew up of people who could unlock, or hack, the iPhones.

Once someone had an imported iPhone working on a mobile network in Switzerland, the costs were still prohibitive to use it very much. So, at first, many people used them only with WiFi.

Which make is most popular?

Apple does not provide country-specific data on the number of iPhones sold. Nevertheless, conducts research on which phones people use in Switzerland. Switzerland has one of the biggest market shares in the world of iPhones and their operating system, iOS.

“Switzerland is an Apple land and an iPhone land,” said Frick. “Switzerland gets Apple products early compared to other European countries, like France. When the iPhone started, Apple was already well known here because of Apple Mac computers, and people are wealthy here, so we bought iPhones from the beginning.”

He pointed out that Apple introduced the iTunes music store and entire system of products very soon after the iPhone became available. That was in contrast to the Google Play, where the smartphones were available long before the entire “eco system” of films, music and apps.

Swiss claim to iPhone fame

From a manufacturing standpoint, the iPhone, as is well known, is made in China. However, as a very tiny portion of the product has Swiss origins, Switzerland can still stake a claim to contributing to one of the biggest technological successes of the past ten years.

Were you one of the first people who bought an iPhone? Or have you stayed away from smartphones completely? Let us know in the comments below! You can contact the author of this story on FacebookExternal link or on TwitterExternal link.

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