Our technology editor answers your trickiest tech questions
Question Is the iPhone 14 worth getting? I have an iPhone X. — Mike Hogan
For most people, I’d say no. The iPhone 13 seems to be better value. The iPhone 14 has slightly better cameras but not much else that’s different to the (excellent, and €100 cheaper) iPhone 13. One feature of note in the US is its ability to use satellite communications for emergency SOS messaging, but Apple isn’t including that service for European iPhone 14 models.
I should stress that I’m writing this before I’ve had an extended period to fully review the iPhone 14; I’ve only just handled it and studied its specifications. So it’s possible that by the time you read this, I will have discovered something unexpected and wonderful about it, such as much better battery life.
But apart from that, I can’t really see what’s compelling about the iPhone 14 over the iPhone 13, unless you’re massively into any extra bit of camera quality you can get. (But if that’s the case, you may as well go the whole hog and get one of the ‘pro’ iPhone models.)
Whichever new model you go for, you will immediately notice one thing — much better battery life. The iPhone X is a very nice phone in many ways, but doesn’t hold nearly as much charge as the iPhone 13 or 14.
Recommendation: iPhone 13 (€929)
I was hoping to upgrade to an iPhone 14 but the price has gone up more than I thought. It seems to be a lot cheaper in the US. I’m going there to visit my son this Christmas. If I buy it for less there, will it work over here?
— Janet Connolly
No. In the US, the iPhone 14 won’t have any physical Sim card tray. Instead, it will work using its internal ‘eSim’, which is like a service you activate on the phone itself. Most US networks allow you to do this, but no Irish network does, fully. That means that if you buy a US iPhone 14 model, it won’t work here: we’re still stuck on old-fashioned physical bits of plastic that we call ‘Sim cards’. (Vodafone has limited eSim compatibility for data, but doesn’t offer its full plans options this way.)
However, there’s no such restriction on an iPhone 13 or iPhone 12, both of which are still on sale from Apple here and the US. And you will probably save quite a bit if you buy one of these over there.
For example, an iPhone 13 costs $699 in the US, plus whatever the sales tax is in the state you’re visiting. Typically that’s about 7pc or 8pc, leaving you with a total cost of about €750 at today’s exchange rates. If you buy it here, it costs €929.
However, while you won’t have any real problems with network access on Vodafone, Three or Eir, you will face one notable disadvantage if you do this: warranty. Apple doesn’t really like people shopping around in different markets for its iPhones. It limits the warranty, geographically. If you had to return your iPhone 13 for some reason, it would have to be in the US. And you’d have to organise that yourself.
There is a form of insurance you can take out here, called AppleCare. But that costs $99 (€98) in the US, which goes a long way to wiping out the price advantage.
You may be wondering: why the big price difference this year? Is Apple purely profiteering here? It appears to be purely a weak-euro issue. Apple’s latest iPhone range are the same price in the US as last year’s models, which have all been discounted by at least $100 (€99). But in Ireland, they’ve gone up by between €100 and €210, because the euro has fallen in value so much against the dollar, which Apple bases all of its pricing on.
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Apple Watch Ultra
€999 from retailers
If you’re into extreme sports such as mountaineering or diving, Apple has a new ‘rugged’ version of its watch aimed at these pursuits. The Apple Watch Ultra is bigger than other Apple Watches and much tougher, able to hack both sub-zero and scorching temperatures. Crucially, its battery life is twice that of a regular Apple Watch, which means about three days.
Apple AirPods Pro 2
€299 from retailers
Apple’s second-generation ‘Pro’ AirPods have three main things going for them. First, longer battery life (up to 30 hours per charge using the case). Second, twice as much noise-cancellation (says Apple). And third, they can now be wirelessly recharged using an Apple Watch charger. The stems are now also touch-sensitive.