Apple has added a new online chat option for AppleCare support, as noted by CNet. The option allows you to get one of Apple's support staff in a text conversation right in your browser. Here's how to find it.
If you visit Apple's Support page, you'll find lots of options for manuals, videos, downloads, tech specs, and Apple's support boards(Communities). There is also an option to "Contact Apple Support," as shown in our first screenshot.
Apple's Main Support Page
If you click or tap that square, you'll be taken to a page that explains some of your contact options. At the top of that page is the option to "Get started," as shown in our next screenshot.
Once you click the "Get started" button, you're taken to a page where Apple's products and services are broken down into broad categories: Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apps & Software, and "More Products & Services," as shown below.
At this point, you'll need to choose which device, product, or service you want support for. In my examples, I chose "Mac desktops" for no particular reason.
Apple's Support Categories.
Once you have selected your category, you will be asked to select from several categories of problems. In the case of Mac desktops, these ranged from startup and power to printing. Each product category has problem areas specific to those devices, so pick the one that represents your problem, and if you don't see it, check the "Other Topics" area.
In my example, I chose "Mail and Other Applications."
Problem areas specific to your device, in this case Mac desktops.
Apple wants to narrow the problem further, so once you pick your main problem area, you will be asked to pick something very specific, as shown below. Note that "The topic is not listed" is an option, so don't panic if you don't see yours.
What's your specific problem?
Once you have chosen your specific problem, you're given several options for contacting Apple. You can enter your phone number to receive a call back from AppleCare; you can schedule a call for another time; you can choose to contact AppleCare later while saving the choices you already made; or the new option, which is "Chat."
Choose your option, Chat is at the bottom
At this point, Apple wants to make sure you have AppleCare covering the device, and the company asks you to enter the serial number for the product. This includes a handy set of instructions specific to the device on where to find that serial number.
Give us your serial number
In the case of our mock run for screenshots, the device in question ran out of AppleCare years ago. We were given a message offering us the option of purchasing a single incident of support for US$19 (plus tax), or requesting an exception.
No AppleCare Coverage
If we did have AppleCare, we would have been taken to the in-browser chat engine that would allow us to have a conversation with an AppleCare representative.
This might seem like a lot of steps, but the process went very quickly. If you feel confident in your ability to work through a problem through text, it's well worth the effort.