Amid the chaos following yesterday’s Apple event, Apple added a new product to its online wares that’s sure to become something of a cult classic. And by cult classic we mean one of those products that almost no one will buy but will live on in infamy nonetheless.
That product is a plain grey “polishing cloth.” Well, there is a small, barely visible Apple logo in the lower right corner, but otherwise it appears to be a very normal cleaning cloth. Very normal except that it costs $19, which is something like nine times what you’d pay for your run-of-the-mill microfiber cloth. And that’s if you didn’t get it free with your purchase, as Apple used to include it with older iPhones.
Some good news: The polishing cloth is compatible with just about every Apple device ever made, right down to the iPod shuffle, according to the product page. To be fair, there is an actual purpose this particular cloth is designed for — cleaning Apple’s new ultra-delicate “nano-textured” glass, a premium screen option for devices like the Pro Display XDR or the new iMac. Or you could always just buy one to display alongside the rest of your Apple product collection.
Special cleaning powers — It’s unclear what kind of wizardry Apple has pulled to create this polishing cloth. Apple says only that it’s made with “soft, nonabrasive material,” which covers an enormous range of fabrics.
The nano-texture glass is Apple’s latest anti-reflective technology. Rather than turning your display anti-reflective with a thin coating, Apple has actually etched the matte finish into the glass at the nanometer level.
The nano-texture glass will set you back about $1,000 and is apparently very sensitive, hence the specialized cleaning cloth. The XDR display includes one in the box — and, before now, the only way to find a replacement was by talking to support.
This one (probably) won’t track you — The iCloth is a sound investment if you own that $5,999 nano-texture glass XDR display. Is it fair that Apple is charging $19 for a small-ish piece of fabric? Absolutely not. But this is Apple we’re talking about. Selling just about anything for less than $20 goes against the company’s ethos.
Notably, the $19 polishing cloth does not include iCloud support, nor does it connect to Wi-Fi at all, as far as we can tell. So it probably won’t track you in the myriad of ways Apple’s other devices do. But then again, neither will the six-pack of microfiber cloths you bought on Amazon.