As I now understand it, when Apple formally shifts its telephone support policy (expected to be April 15th), there will be two separate categories of support:
a. For owners of products purchased prior to April 1, 1996, users will continue to receive quasi-free phone support. The main change will be that the telephone number will be a toll call rather than a toll-free number.
b. For owners of products purchased after April 1, 1996, they will have free (toll free, I believe) support for 90 days after their first call to the Apple Assistance Center. After that, they shift to a fee-based support system (that is, there will be a fee in addition to any toll charges). However, if your product is still under warranty and resolving the problem requires a warranty-covered repair, the fee will be waived.
What about past promises of "24 hour a day free tech support"? Apple will now interpret this to mean that their web-based technical support fulfills this agreement. In this regard, I have word that some of Apple's web resources, such as its Technical Information Library, will have a design overhaul next month - the goal is to make it easier to use and more capable of handling the expected increased demand. All of this will allow a significant reduction in the size of the telephone support staff.