In the decade since Twitter went live, countless companies have taken advantage of the network's ability to break down communication barriers between brands and their customers. From airlines to restaurants, businesses of all types have relished in their ability to not only instantly reach massive audiences, but also to connect with consumers individually. Notably absent from this trend, however, has been Apple.

Although the iPhone company tweets from a variety of service-specific accounts and shares news in tweets from its executives, it has never communicated with customers from a centralized account.

Until now.

Today, Apple launched an official "Support" account on Twitter, which will for the first time give customers the ability to send their questions directly to Cupertino – provided, of course, that they are written in 140 characters or less. In addition to responding directly to consumers' public tweets, the account will also engage in private conversations via direct message.

The account, @AppleSupport, will also tweet tips and tricks for Apple devices. Its first such tweet included a series of photos teaching iOS users how to create a checklist in Notes.

The potential for Apple to answer queries directly through Twitter could be a game-changer for customers, who have previously had to spend hours waiting on the phone or at a retail store just to have a simple problem fixed. While Apple has long offered an online live-chat service with its support staff, the company's presence on the social network is undoubtedly much more visible and accessible. 

While the launch of the Support account is a step forward for Apple, the company still does not run a single, official Twitter account. The handle "@Apple" is held by an unknown person who has never posted on the account.