Apple improving support

Joint Venture

Reports have emerged of secret meetings for Apple retail staff ahead of a major event on Wednesday.

Although the event is likely to be the official iPad 2 launch, AppleInsider reports that the meetings concerned the new "Joint Venture priority service plan", which may be announced at the same event. Apple filed for the trademark 'Joint Venture' almost a year ago.

Joint Venture will be an extension of the current Genius technician services, providing specialised technical support and advice. However, while the Genius technicians only provide support within an Apple store, Joint Venture is reported to be more aimed at small businesses. According to Apple news site Boy Genius Report, this will include "phone-based one-on-one consultations, troubleshooting and on-site visits from Apple Genius technicians".

Innovations

A US source told AppleInsider the service would cost $500 (£308) a year, and will be promoted with the strapline: "Get Setup. Get Trained. Keep Running." Customers will benefit from priority service, help with installation, group training sessions, and the use of a 'courtesy' MacBook if repairs to their own device are needed. Further details are thin on the ground, however, as staff attending the meetings were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Of course, this is not the most exciting Apple product rumoured to be launching on March 2; the 'magical' second-generation tablet is apparently already in production. It's more likely that this service is intended to tie in with the new MacBook Pro, described as an incredibly fast machine using the Lion OS X and Thunderbolt technology developed by Intel.

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