updated 03:24 pm EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
Potentially cheaper than calling phone support
Although the timing has proven slightly different, Apple has otherwise confirmed rumors and begun charging some customers for online chat support. For people out of warranty coverage, chat now costs $19 per incident. AppleCare staff can choose to waive that fee though, particularly in cases where a problem was quickly resolved. Another given exception is if a product was just recently bought.
Paid incidents are reportedly being covered for 30 days, including switching between online and phone support. It may in fact be preferable to start a support ticket via chat, since the $19 fee may be as much as $30 lower than the cost of beginning with a phone call, while offering the same benefits.