Apple recently updated their online stores abroad in the UK, Germany, Spain and Brazil to offer additional help to consumers looking to buy an iPad or iPhone. Not only can you chat live with an online specialist, you can also switch to a guided tour where he or she will share their screen with you to show you all of the features that each device has to offer. Once you find the device that is right for you, the specialist will schedule an appointment to show you how to set it up and get started. It is just like buying an iPad from the Apple retail store, only you can do it in your PJs.
The Verge tried out this new service to find out what the difference is between the three-part program and the old way of just chatting live or calling a specialist. It appears that the Genius Bar service is only available for those looking to buy an iPad or an iPhone. Once you click the “Ask Now” button, you’ll be able to either start a live, online text chat with a specialist, or give your phone number so someone can call you.
The specialist will then share their screen with you so that you can see the web pages they pull up to answer your question. For example, The Verge asked the specialist about the iPad 2 and the Retina display iPad. The specialist called up a “Retina comparison” widget so they could see the difference between the two.
Once you’ve purchased your iPad or iPhone, the service is not over. The online specialists will schedule a free follow up online session with you to help you set up your new gadget. You will be able to watch the specialist’s device and follow along to set up email, download apps, and more.
This visual addition to online service is great for people who just don’t understand the differences between devices. The fact that you get after-purchase care is even better. How many times have you had to help a friend set up their iPhone because they couldn’t figure out the email feature?
The service is currently unavailable in the US online store and a call to Apple yielded vague results. The representative told The Verge that there was “nothing further to announce.” Does this mean that the US will never get the online Genius Bar experience, or does it mean that Apple will roll out an international release without an announcement?