Alphorns_GrindelwaldThe land of super-swank Swiss watches and secretive bank accounts for the super-rich appears to have turned against another purveyor of bling: Apple. The Swiss government has issued a press release, “Towards a single charger for mobile telephones,” announcing legislative revisions to ensure that smartphones and other mobile devices “will have to be compatible with a universal charger by mid-2017 at the latest.”

The release doesn’t actually mention the universal charging standard by name, but since this whole procedure is about “harmonising the technical requirements in Switzerland with those of the European Union,” it’s pretty obvious that the chosen standard is micro USB. This puts Switzerland in the same camp as the rest of the EU, over against Apple, which so far has only made a few concessions to the standard versus its preferred proprietary Lightning technology. As with the EU, Switzerland’s new legislation, though it comes into force “on 13 June 2016,” provides “for a one one-year transitional period to enable the market to adapt to the new rules.”

There are plenty of technical arguments why Apple might prefer Lightning to micro USB, and why the EU might have picked the wrong standard with the latter anyway. But of course, Apple’s extra income from licensing the Lightning standard speaks louder than almost anything else, including, most likely, the EU and Swiss lawmakers. And anyway, industry-wide moves towards wireless charging standards might render the whole debate academic. Plus, if Swiss Apple users ever get inconvenienced by the new standard, there’s always alphorns or yodeling.


  1. “Swiss watches and secretive bank accounts”…” alphorns or yodeling.”

    Really lazy to fall back on national stereotypes, guys. Imagine if every time the US was mentioned, it was referred to as “the home of cheeseburgers, school shootings and banjos”.

  2. Stereotypes for the holiday season, what can I say? I still feel that the yodel and the alphorn are too, too underutilized motifs in the context of Swiss mobile comms. A whole separate article upcoming, maybe? 😉

  3. I would think Switzerland would push for the more versatile USB C connector over the micro USB. Even though there are one a few devices using it now, it’s likely that most of the new high end phones will be using phones it. Apple has already adopted USB C for their laptops, I would expect them to be looking at it for the next iPhone too.

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