may have found another source of revenue, one that would stem from customers who own out-of-warranty products and are in need of technical assistance. Rumor has it Apple will soon start charging these users for online chat support using a brand new web payment system it recently developed. It could be introduced as early as this week.
That's according to 9to5Mac
, which says the new payment system will also allow users to schedule repairs and replacements. Out-of-warranty support will require a "pay per incident" fee, or users can opt to purchase an extended warranty through AppleCare. Either way, these users will no longer be able to access online chat support for free as they've been able to do up to this point. Customers whose devices are still within their warranty period will continue to receive chat support at no additional charge by heading over to getsupport.apple.com
Apparently this is something Apple has been wanting to do for some time now, but it had to develop an online payment system first. Now that it has, paid chat support can become a reality. Apple will charge users $19 for a single incident of basic tech support and troubleshooting, though at least initially, users will have the option of requesting an exception to the fee. It's not yet known how Apple will determine who qualifies for an exception, though 9to5Mac
says AppleCare employees have been told to grant them in all cases where they're requested.