As part of an overhaul of its online store, Apple introduced a new feature called ‘Apple Notifications‘, a new text-message based service that is designed to keep customers up-to-date on their orders or notify them if an order is ready to be picked up in store.

The change was noticed by Cult of Mac, which noticed that Apple was now displaying a small line of text notifying customers of the new option. At the time of writing it only appears to be operational in the US and Canada, but may come to other regions soon.

Screen Shot 2012 07 18 at 14.42.38 520x172 Apple launches Apple Notifications, offers text message updates on orders in the US and Canada

Apple says that it will send the SMS updates alongside its standard email notifications, allowing customers to select text message updates when they are navigating the Checkout.

Screen Shot 2012 07 18 at 14.45.36 Apple launches Apple Notifications, offers text message updates on orders in the US and Canada

It appears that if a customer already owns an iDevice, the text update will be displayed as an iMessage (given that the notification bubble in the above screenshot is blue).

Apple says that when an order ships, or is available for pickup, a text update will be sent. This will include an order number and a link to Apple’s online Order Status.

The company also notes that the supported US carriers include: Alltel, AT&T, Boost Mobile, Cricket, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Virgin Mobile USA. The company doesn’t provide information on carriers in Canada.

If it all gets too much, the customer can reply STOP to the text message or request additional information by texting HELP to 83372.

[Image Credit: Frankspin89]