Mac Pro (Quad Core, 3.7 GHz, Late 2013)

As the manual for this Mac Pro states, “This is no floor model. Go ahead and keep it right on your desk.” This Mac Pro was a radical design departure from all previous Mac Pro—and other Apple desktop models with its cylindrical design. According to an Apple press release:

“Designed around an innovative unified thermal core, the all-new Mac Pro packs unprecedented performance into an aluminum enclosure that is just 9.9-inches tall and one-eighth the volume of the previous generation. Mac Pro features 4-core, 6-core, 8-core or 12-core Intel Xeon processors running at Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz and two workstation-class AMD FirePro GPUs that deliver up to eight times the graphics performance of the previous generation Mac Pro.* PCIe-based flash storage delivers sequential read speeds up to 10 times faster than conventional desktop hard drives, and ECC DDR3 gives the new Mac Pro up to 60GBps of memory bandwidth for seamlessly editing full-resolution 4K video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background. With an incredible six Thunderbolt 2 ports, each with up to 20Gbps of bandwidth per device, the new Mac Pro completely redefines desktop expandability with support for up to 36 high-performance peripherals, including the latest 4K displays.”

As is often the case with unique designs, this Mac Pro is sometimes unfortunately referred to as the “trash can” Mac. I have included a couple of tongue-in-cheek photos in reference to this moniker.

Sources: EveryMac, Apple Newsroom

Multicolor Apple Logo Embroidery Stickers (c. 1988)

These multicolor Apple logos are made from embroidery thread and have an adhesive back. One set of embroidery stickers are on a transparent plastic film with the adhesive still tacky, and another set are separate with dried adhesive on the back. The adhesive on the separated stickers is yellowing.

Because the stickers are made primarily of thread, each has a slightly different shape, especially the individual stickers with hardened adhesive backs. The individual sticker dimensions vary, but the least-distorted example measures 20 x 25 mm for stickers on the plastic backing, and 18 x 23 mm off the backing.

I have estimated the date of these stickers as 1988 because a friend of mine had one of these on his hat throughout the mid- to late-1980s. I believe my friend acquired his sticker at an education event in Chicago. My set of stickers was purchased from the estate of a former Apple Education employee.

Apple Logo Mousepad (strawberry, 1999)

This thin plastic mousepad was made by the company Microthin and features the strawberry (red) Apple logo printed in a manner to simulate the translucent plastic Apple logo used in the iMac line of computers at the time. This mousepad is red to match the strawberry iMac. The iMac colors of the time included tangerine, lime, blueberry, grape, strawberry, and graphite.

This mousepad is round and measures 8.5 inches in diameter. It is printed with a MICROTHIN PRODUCTS logo and small text along the bottom curve (in Apple Garamond font) reads, ©1999 Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved. L04108A. Different mousepad colors appear to use the same part number.

The back of the mousepad is covered in a sticky material that provides traction to prevent slippage. The tackiness of the material is still viable after over 20 years and can be reactivated by rinsing accumulated dust with water. However, the entire mousepad is beginning to show signs of yellowing.

I also have a blueberry example of this mousepad.

Source: No official sources found, additional colors confirmed on eBay

Lanyard (black, red, white logotype, c. 1990)

This lanyard is black with a red wooden bead accent. Its style appears to place it in the 1990s. This lanyard was acquired from the estate of a former Apple Education employee and was likely used in the 1990s at education events.

The cord of the lanyard features a white Apple logotype in Apple Garamond, Apple’s corporate font used between 1984 and 2003. The manufacturer is shown on a white tag printed with he name KOOCHY gear.

I have found similarly designed items by this manufacturer on eBay branded with other company logos. Although the company is no longer active, it now appears to be associated with the company PROMOVISION, specializing in custom lanyards.

I also have a similar version of this lanyard in my collection without the manufacturer tag.

Source: PROMOVISION

The Golden Apple Club ceramic tile (1992)

This white ceramic tile was acquired from the estate of a former Apple Education employee. It is printed with a negative-space white Apple logo on a shimmering, metallic gold circle with the words “THE GOLDEN APPLE CLUB,” also printed in metallic gold. The tile’s border is surrounded with dark-green-printed shamrocks and the words “Ireland ’92” in an Old English typeface.

I was able to find a few references to the “The Golden Apple Club” in my research. One source in the Online Archive of California in the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at Stanford shows a listing in a collection archive titled, “Guide to the Apple Computer, Inc. Records M1007” (1998). The reference catalogs the item as “Vanity Press Items” with the entry: The Golden Apple Club: the best of the best., 1991. The complete record specifies that the university collection includes approximately 600 linear feet of items from 1977–1998 including: “organizational charts, annual reports, company directories, internal communications, engineering reports, design materials, press releases, manuals, public relations materials, human resource information, videotapes, audiotapes, software, hardware, and corporate memorabilia.”

A former Apple Regional Sales Manager on LinkedIn lists that he was a “Golden Apple Sales Award Winner” in 1998.

The long-running podcast RetroMacCast Episode 261 (October 21, 2012): “Frito Residue,” includes a reference to a 18K gold Golden Apple Club pin (selling for $1,049.99) and later included a conversation about the Golden Apple Club program. The podcast host discussed several Golden Apple Club items he had purchased in a kit, including a deck of cards, heavy-duty black plastic luggage tags, a neck pillow in a gray vinyl pouch, and a small portfolio—all with the Golden Apple Club logo. The “Club” was described as a program for sales representatives who had exceeded planned sales goals for a fiscal year. Reportedly, one of the “prizes” for Golden Apple Club members included a trip.

Based upon this information, this tile may have been received by a Golden Apple Club award winner on a trip to Ireland in 1992.

Perhaps worth noting, Apple has had facilities in Cork, Ireland, since 1980 and specifies that Cork “serves as Apple’s European headquarters, supporting customers across the continent and beyond.” There is no indication that this trip was to Cork, and this connection is pure speculation.

The tile measures 4.25 x 4.25 inches, 3/16-inch thick, and has a cork bottom.

Sources: Stanford, Apple, RetroMacCast

Central Operations Executive Briefing Center Black Leather Portfolio (c. 1990)

This black leather portfolio was made by the company Hazel CID (America’s Case Maker). The corners of the portfolio are made from gold-colored metal, and the lower-right corner of the cover is embossed with an Apple logo and then words “Central Operations Executive Briefing Center.”

Apple’s “Central Operations Executive Briefing Center” was located in Chicago. It is now located in a different building in Chicago and is known as the Chicago Executive Briefing Center.

The interior of the portfolio includes a vinyl pocket on the left side and a slot on the right side to hold a pad of paper. The center of the portfolio includes a cutout tab to hold a pen.

The portfolio measures __x__.

Gray Linen Portfolio with Multicolor Apple Logo (c. 1990)

This gray portfolio features a textured linen outer finish with a multicolor embroidery Apple logo on the upper-left front cover. The outer edges are stitched.

The inside of the portfolio is made from gray vinyl. The left side has a gray vinyl pocket, and the right side has a slot to hold a pad of paper. The left side also includes a curved slot to hold a business card vertically.

The left-bottom-center of the interior has a black tag with the words DART Manufacturing Co. Made In U.S.A. According to my research, DART merged with Senator USA in 2007. Both companies made promotional items and Senator is still in operation.

The portfolio measures 12.5 x 9.375 inches.

MagSafe Battery Pack (2021)

The MagSafe Battery Pack was introduced in July 2021. The battery pack can be attached to the back of any iPhone with MagSafe charging, including all iPhone 12 and 13 models. The product is designed “to quickly and safely wirelessly charge iPhone models with MagSafe, giving you more time to use your device.”

Apple describes the product:

“Attaching the MagSafe Battery Pack is a snap. Its compact, intuitive design makes on-the-go charging easy. The perfectly aligned magnets keep it attached to your iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro — providing safe and reliable wireless charging. And it automatically charges, so there’s no need to turn it on or off. There’s no interference with your credit cards or key fobs either.”

Like other Apple charging products of the time, they do not function out of the box and require a charging brick that is sold separately. Since so many charging bricks are available, the topic of charging the charger can be confusing and requires a full tech support document that states, “your MagSafe Battery Pack can charge your iPhone with up to 5W of power. If connected to a 20W or higher power source, it can charge with up to 15W of power.”

The MagSafe Battery Pack provides additional charge capacity to an iPhone based on the model and many other factors, including settings, usage, and environmental conditions. Apple specifies that the battery pack provides:

  • Up to 70% additional charge with iPhone 12 mini or iPhone 13 mini and MagSafe Battery Pack
  • Up to 60% additional charge with iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 and MagSafe Battery Pack
  • Up to 60% additional charge with iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro and MagSafe Battery Pack
  • Up to 40% additional charge with iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPhone 13 Pro Max and MagSafe Battery Pack

The MagSafe Battery Pack is the exact width of the iPhone 12/13 mini (with matching curved corners) so it fits all models of the iPhone 12/ 13, iPhone Pro 12/13 and iPhone Pro Max 12/13.

Although the product is referred to on the Apple website and on the bottom of the package as the “MagSafe Battery Pack,” the front of the package identifies it as an “iPhone Battery Pack MageSafe” and the “iPhone Battery Pack” on the back.

Sources: Apple, Apple Support, MacRumors

Apple’s Luxury Microfiber?

For the past few years I have been photographing and cataloging my Apple Collection and posting on this blog. The exercise has allowed me to both showcase and inventory my collection. Occasionally, such as in this case, I discover a detail I’ve neither seen nor heard in another source.

I recently acquired several new Apple Watch bands of different types. Among them, I decided to splurge on my very first (and likely last) Apple Watch Hermès item for my collection—the Apple Watch Hermès 45 mm Navy Single Tour Band. Having never unboxed or photographed an Apple/Hermès product, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Typical Apple Watch bands (and Apple Watch Nike bands) arrive in a white (or black) cardboard box with a detailed illustration on the front showing the band’s design. The box can be opened by pulling the green arrow icon to break the tape seal, and the box opens at the side. A tabbed, folded insert is then slid out, and when unfolded, the band is held in place by die-cut cardboard. Instructions are printed on the cardboard insert for putting the band on an Apple Watch.

A typical Apple Watch Sport Loop cardboard insert.

The Apple Watch Hermès packaging is decidedly more posh. The outside of the box is covered in a clear plastic wrap similar to the wrap on some Apple product boxes (such as the original HomePod and the iPad Pro). The plastic includes a tab with a white arrow to indicate which way to peel off the outer protective layer. Under the plastic, the orange Hermès box is sturdy, heavy, and textured. The lid of the box lifts off, and this is where my surprise began.

Inside, the Apple Watch Hermès band is not in cardboard, but enrobed in a luxurious microfiber pouch with a familiar texture and configuration. I removed the cloth pouch from the box and opened it to find that one side contained cardboard and paper inserts with information, and the other side was divided in half with each side containing one piece of the watch band.

Upon closer inspection, the pouch appears to be made from the same material as the now famous Apple Polishing Cloth, the $19 cloth that enjoyed about a month of media hype in 2021. Apple had begun selling the Polishing Cloth as an accessory and the cloth quickly went out of stock due to apparently high demand. You can read more about this story here. In addition to the similar look and feel of the material, the edge construction of the pouch also appears identical to the Apple Polishing Cloth. While the Apple/Hermès logotype appears to be both embossed and printed with brown ink, the Apple logo on the Apple Polishing Cloth is only embossed.

The colors of the two items are different—the Apple Polishing Cloth is light gray, while the Apple Watch Hermès pouch is a shade of greige (gray+beige). The two materials feel identical to the touch, both in the cloth area and in the more dense edges that are presumably joined by an adhesive and pressure to create a finished look and feel with edges rounded in Bézier curves.

As a result of this unboxing and photo session, I believe that I identified Apple’s signal for their truly high-end products—the presence of Apple’s “luxury microfiber.” See my Apple Watch Hermès band blog entry here. If anyone has additional information about this microfiber material or has seen it used in other Apple products, please contact me!

Post Script: As I suspected, the French-made Apple Watch Hermès Single Tour Band does not fit my American-made wrist. This is far from a tragedy, as I am happy to have this one example for my collection. Just do not expect to see me wearing my Hermès band on the yacht, at the country club, or in the stables.*

*Please note that do not I engage in these activities.

Band Apple Watch Hermès Single Tour (44 mm, Bleu Navy, 2020)

The Apple Watch Hermès features a “classic Hermès design.” According to Apple’s website, the band is “Handmade by artisans in France from supple Swift leather. The stainless steel buckle recalls those on the straps of a saddle, a nod to the equestrian heritage of Hermès.”

Apple’s Hermès Leather collection included both “single tour” and “double tour” styles. The double tour offered the unique style of wrapping twice around the wrist, while the single tour was the traditional single wrap. Depending on the style, Apple Watch Hermès bands were offered at premium prices between $319–$849 in nylon and leather.

The Apple Watch Hermès designs were a part of what Apple described as an “iconic collaboration” and said, “Apple Watch Hermès brings innovation and style to the forefront of your wrist.” Like other Apple Watch bands, the colors and patterns change seasonally and offer “a sophisticated palette of energetic brights and subtle seasonal tones on leather and woven nylon bands. Available in a wide range of styles and colorways in Double Tour or Single Tour.”

Interestingly, the Hermès website offered details about this band not provided on Apple’s website. Namely, Hermès describes Swift leather:

“This extremely supple, sophisticated leather is named after Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, to highlight its resemblance to Gulliver calfskin, which is no longer featured in today’s collections.
First appeared in the collections: 2004
Appearance: Almost smooth with a delicate shine; lightly marked grain that is sometimes hardly noticeable
Feel: Soft and tender
Hand: Supple and generous
Change over time: Becomes even more supple”

Editorial comment: It’s like butter.

Further, Hermès provided a description that is arguably clearer than Apple’s:

“You can match this band with any stainless steel Apple Watch case (Series 7 or previous versions). The 41 mm band works with the 38 mm, 40 mm and 41 mm cases; the 45 mm band works with the 42 mm, 44 mm and 45 mm cases.”

Technically, this band fits any Apple Watch, but stainless steel on aluminum is apparently considered très gauche. Although seemingly non-standard, I have titled this post using the product name provided by Hermès.

Finally, I don’t get the opportunity to use my four years of high school French often, but I have noticed that Americans frequently mispronounce the brand name Hermès. This video provides a great example of a native French speaker pronouncing the name. [Roughly, it’s pronounced air-MEHZ, but it’s best to hear it.]

Sources: Apple, Hermès