Apple’s launching a new way to buy an iPhone. Instead of picking one up at the store or placing an order on Apple’s website, now you can get the best of both worlds by shopping for a device online with the help of an employee over a one-way video call.
The feature, called “shop with a specialist over video,” lets you chat with an Apple specialist on desktop or mobile who can guide you through the process of buying an iPhone, as well as provide more information about different iPhone features, trade-in offers, financing, and iOS. While you’ll see the person on the other end of the call in a thumbnail that appears on your screen, they won’t see you. That means you can even make the call from a device that doesn’t have a camera, although you’ll still need a microphone and speakers to chat with them.
This feature is a branch off of Apple’s existing “shop with a specialist” program, which lets you make a reservation at one of its stores to purchase products in person with the assistance of an employee. Unlike the standard shop with a specialist program, though, you can only buy iPhones. It’s not clear whether Apple will eventually expand this to its other products, but it seems Apple’s making the move to help boost iPhone sales in the lull leading up to the launch of the iPhone 15 later this year.
The option to shop with a specialist over video shows up on the iPhone product page. To get to it, you have to click Ask an iPhone Specialist and then hit Connect With A Specialist from the resulting pop-up menu. From there, click Shop with us over one-way video, and you’ll get redirected to a page where you can start your call. Shopping over video is only available from 10AM ET / 7AM PT to 10PM ET / 7PM PT.
However, we don’t know whether the person on the other end of the call is an Apple store employee who has to field calls on top of their existing responsibilities or if Apple has tasked a dedicated remote team with managing the calls. The Verge reached out to Apple with a request for more information, and we’ll update this article if we hear back.