In today's Apple Daily, Apple once again nabs the top spot for customer satisfaction with tech support over at Consumer Reports. Additionally, some insider sources finally (and allegedly) reveal what's up with those Dodge Caravans driving around cities like San Francisco and Dallas, and Apple releases a support document that helps iOS users cope with a troublesome iMessage bug.
Consumer Reports: Apple Tops Rankings for Tech Support
Nine years on, Apple continues to deliver the best tech support among PC manufacturers, according to Consumer Reports' latest survey. For this year's report, Consumer Reports surveyed 3,200 personal computer users and found that "Mac users give Apple's phone and online support glowing reviews, and four out of five said tech support was able to resolve their problem."
These are impressive figures, especially considering that there was usually only "a 50-50 chance" that tech support would "do the trick" for a problem with a machine from a Windows-based PC manufacturer. Specifically, tech support only satisfied customers half the time for four out of the six non-Apple PC manufacturers surveyed, and the best two — Lenovo and Dell — only lived up to expectations 61 percent of the time.
Much of Apple's success in the rankings here rests on the strength of the Genius Bar, which Consumer Reports praised for providing free lifetime support. In addition, the publication praised Apple for its year's worth of warranty coverage and the option to extend that coverage through AppleCare. For most other manufacturers, the report noted, you'll often have to pay just to have your problem diagnosed. The one mark against Apple was that it "provides just 90 days of free phone and online tech support, compared to one year for most other companies," but the strengths of Apple's offerings were apparently enough to counter this one downside.
And it's been this way for a while, too. Apple first topped the list of Consumer Reports' customer satisfaction rankings way back in 2007 — when the surveys began — and it hasn't slipped since.
'Mystery' Apple-Leased Dodge Caravans Reportedly Focusing on Maps Improvements
When people first started seeing Apple-leased Dodge Caravans in American cities with fancy, tech-y contraptions on their roofs last winter, speculation as to their purpose ran the gamut from a "Google Street View" for Apple Maps to prototypes for an Apple-branded automated car. It turns out (a bit unsurprisingly) that the truth is much closer to the former, according to insider sources who spoke with 9to5Mac.
While a Street View-style option might indeed be in the works, the vans are supposedly meant first and foremost to reduce Apple's reliance on TomTom, which has supplied much of the location data for Apple's navigation service since it launched. The idea here is that Apple will be able to gather its own data and thereby correct any inaccuracies immediately rather than waiting on TomTom to fix it first. This transition might be a ways off, however, as Apple renewed its contract with TomTom just 10 days ago.
Apple is also reportedly using the Caravans to take photos of storefronts of the businesses that appear in Apple Maps, which would allow the company to replace the images it normally pulls from sites like Yelp with its own images.
It's possible (but not entirely probable) that we'll get a glimpse of some of these new features at WWDC in a few days, as Apple is said to be bringing some Maps-related changes to iOS 9, such as a new Points of Interest system and transit routing data for a select number of cities.
Apple Releases Support Document for iMessage Bug
Apple has yet to release a proper patch for the nasty iMessage bug we reported on the day before yesterday involving a random string of mostly Arabic characters, but in the meantime, it's released a support document informing affected users of a workaround.
Keep in mind that the listed steps don't prevent you from being affected by the bug; instead, they merely allow you to open the Messages app again so you can delete it. The steps listed also won't fix problems with other apps such as Twitter, Snapchat, and WhatsApp — all of which were recently discovered to be vulnerable to the same bug on iOS.
Apple's instructions are as follows:
Ask Siri to "read unread messages."
Use Siri to reply to the malicious message. After you reply, you’ll be able to open Messages again.
In Messages, swipe left to delete the entire thread. Or tap and hold the malicious message, tap More, and delete the message from the thread.
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