Apple offers free services at the Apple Store, including free technical support at the Genius Bar and free workshops to help customers learn more about using their Apple devices. Several months ago, the process of signing up for a Genius Bar reservation changed and now requires using an Apple ID to register.
Today, Apple has again updated the Genius Bar reservation workflow. Before signing in with an Apple ID, consumers are presented with a new page that highlights the various online support tools that Apple offers. If desired, users can continue with their initial plan of making the reservation for the Genius Bar, or can try to “save a trip to the store” by working with an AppleCare representative online. If the issue in question involves iTunes, iCloud, or Apple ID services, AppleCare can help customers for free regardless of whether any of that customer’s Apple products are still covered under AppleCare. For hardware- or software-related issues, AppleCare does offer pay-per-incident fees, or offers the option to purchase AppleCare if the product is still covered under the original warranty.
With this new page, it seems Apple is hoping customers will conduct basic troubleshooting at home before making a trip to the Genius Bar, which will hopefully cut down on the number of appointments booked for simple issues and provide customers who really do need Genius support with even more timeslots to choose from.