Apple flips the switch on paid chat support, introduces Here to Help program for AppleCare employees

Apple-Here-To-Help

Following our report late last month that Apple was preparing to start charging for out-of-warranty online chat support, we’ve been informed that today Apple support has finally flipped the switch on the new feature and started charging customers. While originally planned for earlier this month, Apple has been having difficulties with a new payment system it developed specifically for the online chat feature. Apple is also introducing a new training program for AppleCare employees called “Here to Help” that it hopes will improve the overall AppleCare support experience.  Read more

You can now buy iPad Airs at the Apple Store (refurb) for $419/16GB or $509/32GB with 1 year warranty

From 9to5Toys.com:

ipad-air-refurb-apple-store

lm-tile-refurbipad_LANG_ENThe Apple Store just got filled with refurbished iPad Airs in a few varieties starting at $419 for 16GB and $509 for 32GB in both Space Grey or White. That’s $80/$90 off the new price and the lowest price we’ve seen for iPad Airs with Apple’s 1 year AppleCare warranty (we saw them new for $430 last week). Apple certified refurbished products look and act like new, come with all manuals and accessories, a new outer shell batter and come in a new white box.

Walmart still has refurbished iPad Airs for $399 but with a more dubious 90-day non-Apple warranty. Meanwhile, if you are after new iPad Airs, Staples currently has them for $50 off across the board.  Read more

All Apple websites could be blocked in Belgium over AppleCare controversy

Image: belgium-iphone.lesoir.be

Belgian Apple Store concept image: belgium-iphone.lesoir.be

A Belgian judge is reportedly considering ordering local ISPs to block access to all Apple websites in the country in response to a long-running dispute over the company’s promotion of AppleCare warranties, according to local newspapers cited by Tech.eu.

A case brought by the consumer protection group FPS Economy argued that Apple misleads consumers by claiming a standard warranty of one year, and selling an optional AppleCare extension, when EU law means that manufacturers are legally obliged to offer a minimum warranty of two years as standard …  Read more

Apple will soon charge for out-of-warranty chat support, schedule repairs via new web payment system

Online-Paid-Chat-support

Apple is about to begin charging users outside of their warranty for online chat support using a new web payment system it recently developed. Sources familiar with the project say Apple is currently expecting to launch the new paid chat support, which will also let customers schedule repairs and replacements online, as early as next week. Here’s how it works: Read more

Wishful thinking: Why it’d be nice if Apple created a line of Ive-designed office technology products

Image: deskology.com

Image: deskology.com

I have a number of friends who can’t understand why I pay what they refer to as ‘the Apple tax': the premium paid for Apple products over alternatives that offer much the same functionality.

I can argue about the functionality, of course. The usability, stability and (usually!) security of OS X are all things worth paying for in my view, but I’m not ashamed to admit that aesthetics also matter to me. When I’m going to spend 8+ hours in front of a computer, I’d rather I was looking at something sleek and beautiful rather than something plastic, ugly and a chore to use and understand.

I feel the same way about the other technology on my desk and in my office, but it isn’t always easy to find kit that works well and looks the part too. I can’t help thinking there’s a lot of office technology that could use the Jony Ive touch …  Read more

Apple seeds OS X 10.9.1 to support staff as public release approaches

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 12.39.40 PM

In early November, we reported that Apple had begun seeding versions of OS X Mavericks 10.9.1 and 10.9.2 to employees within the its Software Engineering division. Since then, Apple provided two OS X 10.9.1 seeds to registered developers. These builds focus on improvements to Mail, Voice Over, and general system stability. The update will serve as the first point-update to the recently released OS X Mavericks.

Now, we’ve learned that Apple has provided build 13B40 of 10.9.1 to AppleCare employees. This internal release indicates that the public release of OS X 10.9.1 is near as Apple’s support staff will become familiar with the software in order to seemingly assist customers in the near-future. That particular build is the same version provided to developers last night. OS X 10.9.2 will likely follow with additional fixes in the following weeks.

Read more