Our technology editor answers your trickiest tech problems
Question: I know you get this question all the time, but I need to replace my iPhone X. I have heard good things about the iPhone 13 and am tempted to get one. But I read that the iPhone 14 might be due soon. Is it foolish to get an iPhone 13 now rather than wait until the new one comes out? — Frances Foley
Answer: Normally at this time of year, I would tell you to wait until September, when the new model is announced. However, this year might be different for one big reason: price. Apple has given a very clear indication that the prices of its new products are about to hiked, particularly in the eurozone.
ast week, the company unveiled its latest MacBooks. While the new MacBook Air M2 model costs €1,529 here, it’s between €1,130 and €1,230 in the US, depending on which state’s sales tax you apply. This is a much bigger gap in pricing between the two markets than existed at the time of the last major Apple launch and indicates that Apple believes the euro will be weaker in the medium term.
Add to this the ongoing supply chain issues attached to technology components in general and it adds up to September’s iPhone 14 model being substantially more expensive than the iPhone 13. In other words, even the base model of the iPhone 14 is now likely to start at over €1,000 for the first time, compared to €929 for the iPhone 13 (or €829 for the iPhone 13 mini).
All of this might still be OK if the iPhone 14 were set to have some must-have new feature that we can’t live without. However, to the best of my knowledge in monitoring the usual industry leaks and sources, there isn’t anything ground-breaking coming to the iPhone 14 that you might say is a no-brainer for that extra €100 or so.
The real kicker to all of this is that there is even a chance Apple might raise the price of the iPhone 13 at the time of the iPhone 14 launch, following what it did with the MacBook Air pricing last week (the old M1 model is now €100 dearer than when it launched two years ago). This would be a double-sickener, as even retailers with remaining iPhone 13 stock purchased wholesale at the old price would rush to put up their shop prices to cash in.
So in this case, unless you genuinely don’t mind spending the extra €100 or so, it seems to make more sense to buy an iPhone 13 now than wait until the iPhone 14 comes in September or October.
Recommendation: iPhone 13 (€929)
I’m absolutely plagued with scam phone calls and texts. I have contacted my mobile operator but they’re useless in giving any good advice. Is there anything I can do?
— Brian Naughton
Yes. There are quite a few apps that will help with this. Probably the best free one is Truecaller. It uses a large database of known spam and scam numbers to tag or block unwanted calls and texts. It’s free to download for iPhone or Android. By the way, a general tip, here: in the app stores, you will often see lots of apps that appear to do the same thing. A general rule of thumb is to only go with the choices that have lots of reviews associated with them.
I keep getting ads that appear to be connected to conversations I’m having with friends or family. Is there any way I can switch this feature off on my phone?
— Debbie Murphy
It’s almost certain that your phone is not listening to you for the purposes of delivering ads on your social media feeds. I know that it often seems like an eerie coincidence when you see an ad for something you were recently talking about, but the chances are that this is the result of you or the other person looking it up (and your network relationship online doing the rest of the guesswork as to what kind of ad might work on you).
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Apple MacBook Pro M2
€1,629 from retailers
Apple has refreshed its entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro with its new, more powerful, M2 chip. The upgrade is all under the hood, however, with little apparent difference to the rest of the machine. In other words, it’s not a completely redesigned device, like the new MacBook Air M2. Even still, it might be a good option for those who want long battery life.
Huawei GT3 Pro
€399 from Littlewoods
At up to a fortnight between charges, Huawei’s latest GT3 Pro sports and fitness smartwatch is exceptionally good for battery life compared to other full-colour smartwatches, which typically only last one to three days. The materials that make up the device are also slightly nicer than most rivals. I’ll have a full review of this on Independent.ie in the coming weeks.