iOS 7 (WWDC 2013 logo mockup)

Apple today has reportedly begun educating its support army on the intricacies of iOS 7 and iTunes Radio and is training AppleCare employees to efficiently handle customer queries and help them transition to its revamped operating system, a reliable blogger has learned Thursday.

With iOS 7 now looming on the horizon and the software’s official launch and public availability pegged for September 10, the AppleCare staff training is said to focus mostly on the visual changes in iOS 7, with specific emphasis on a few cherry-picked features. The company is also asking AppleCare employees to basically tell puzzled customers iOS 7 still works the same even though it looks significantly different than its predecessor…

Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac takes us through training material, key takeaways follow:

  • Part-time support staff will temporarily go full-time to cope with the launch.
  • Unlike recent years, this time around iOS and Mac AppleCare support staff are being trained on iOS as both are expected to be inundated with support calls.
  • The iOS 7 training focuses on Find My iPhone, Activation Lock, AirDrop and Control Center features, the new iCloud Photo Sharing options, and stock Camera and Safari apps.
  • AppleCare employees will also be trained on the new iTunes Radio streaming music service, with employees having been told “concrete information” regarding skips and in-app advertising. As we reported today, iTunes Radio should give iTunes Match subscribers both ad-free experience and unlimited song skips.
  • Despite the major overhaul, Apple is reportedly “confident” that support calls over the new interface will be “quick and simple”.

With the visual changes and plenty of enhancements and new features setting iOS 7 apart from the previous version, Apple is wise to invest time and money in helping their loyal customers get the hang of the latest and greatest operating system powering iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices.

I love this passage in Gurman’s report:

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.

Sounds like a dream job, no?

Apple event 201203 (iPad 3 introduction, Apple Store video, boy and girl interacting with iPhone 001)

Carriers are also gearing up for the big launch, with both T-Mobile and AT&T now canceling vacations for retail employees beginning September 20. And as AppleCare employees are now receiving their training, Apple’s rumored iPhone trade-in program begins tomorrow.

We’re also hearing that the AppleCare+ extended warranty for iPhones and iPads is launching in Europe soon, possibly in time for new hardware. The $99 warranty covers two incidents of accidental damage, each requiring a $49 service fee, and is currently available only in the US, Canada and Japan.

iOS 7 (App Store teaser)

Some watchers are expecting more warranty changes this Fall, including switching from a one-time payment to a subscription-based model for warranties. Apple could be also starting to attach the warranty to the customer rather than a particular device real soon.

This is the kind of industry-leading, unmatched customer support Apple fans have long been accustomed to, though it would be nice if Apple provided the same level of retail support to its enterprise customers as well.

Along with the recently revamped Apple Support website and 24/7 online chat support, Apple appears to be ready for another “biggest iPhone launch” yet.

Which brings me to my question of the day: will you be buying a new iPhone from your carrier or direct from Apple, be it online or through a brick-and-mortar outlet?