Apple has started training its AppleCare technical support staff on the changes and feature-set of iOS 7, according to multiple AppleCare employees. These people say that training began today, and AppleCare employees are required to complete the iOS 7 training by the second week of September.
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The second week of September is around the date that Apple will be holding its iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and iOS 7 media event, so it would make sense that Apple would want its support staff to be ready for questions about the new software. We do not believe that because AppleCare will be ready to support iOS 7 around September 10th, iOS 7 will actually be released to the public on or in the few days surrounding the event date. More likely, Apple expects questions about iOS 7 since it will be fully announced and demonstrated on that date. Apple typically releases major iOS updates the week following its formal announcement.
Additionally, starting at the launch of iOS 7, Apple will require the majority of its part-time support staff to become full-time members of the support team. Apple has done this in years past to ensure that proper support is provided for the new iOS launch.
However, this year is different in that Apple will be requiring a large number of Mac Hardware/OS X technicians to be trained on iOS as well. This means that both Apple’s iOS and Mac AppleCare support staff members will be receiving AppleCare calls related to iOS 7. With iOS 7 being a major redesign and feature update, Apple is expecting that its support staff will be inundated with calls, and utilizing all of the AppleCare resources will likely be critical in order to provide support for every calling customer.
The iOS 7 training focuses on some of the more critical features of iOS. Apple seems to want to push the Find my iPhone Activation Lock feature. This option requires the customer’s iCloud username and password for an iOS Device to be inputted to activate a found iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This feature is built to deter iOS Device thefts and sales of stolen or found devices.
Other features that AppleCare will heavily push and become knowledgable about include the new iCloud Photo Sharing options, the redesigned Camera app, the more feature-rich Safari browser, Control Center, and AirDrop file-sharing.
AppleCare employees will also be trained on the new iTunes Radio streaming music service, and employees have been told concrete information regarding skips and in-app advertising. According to the AppleCare training, there are more than “200 genre based stations” to choose from. Additionally, as users have already discovered, iTunes Radio allows users to skip 6 songs each hour per station. Additionally, it seems that iTunes Match subscribers, in addition to receiving an ad-free experience, will be granted unlimited skipping abilities.
In addition to training regarding some of iOS 7’s tentpole features, Apple appears to be ready to assist customers who are surprised by the system’s radically new design, and the company has a simple solution for this. When a customer calls AppleCare because they do not know how to use a particular function in iOS 7, AppleCare is said to be told to explain that although the system looks completely different, it works exactly the same way.
As an example, Apple provides its AppleCare employees with a comparison between the iOS 6 Calendar app and the iOS 7 Calendar app. As seen above, the two apps look different, but function virtually the same way. The same idea is found across all of iOS 7’s included applications, and AppleCare will stress this to customers.
AppleCare employees tell us that, even though iOS 7 looks different, they are confident that support calls related to the new interface will be quick and simple.
We previously reported that Apple is also preparing programs for Apple Stores that will teach customers about iOS 7’s new look and features. Training is said to not have started for Apple Store employees on these new programs. Instead, Apple Stores are currently focusing their training on the iPhone trade-in program that begins tomorrow.
In addition to preparing its phone support for the launch of iOS 7, Apple has started tightening up its online support resources. Earlier this week, Apple rolled out a revamped online support page and bolstered its 24/7 chat support.
Just like how Apple Store employees will be critical messengers of Apple’s new software and hardware, AppleCare employees will be critical in ensuring that customers enjoy and know how to use Apple’s new products.