Polishing Cloth (2021)

On October 18, 2021, Apple held an online “Unleashed” event where they introduced a “new MacBook Pro with M1 Pro or M1 Max chip, all-new AirPods, and HomePod mini in five bold colors.” On the same day, Apple quietly released an “official” Polishing Cloth as an accessory that was available on the website for $19.

Apple describes the product:

“Made with soft, nonabrasive material, the Polishing Cloth cleans any Apple display, including nano-texture glass, safely and effectively.”

In addition to the product description, Apple provided a long list of models under the Compatibility header including iPhone models back to the iPhone SE (1st generation), iPad models back to the iPad mini (1st generation), Mac models back to iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014 – 2015), all Apple Watch models back Apple Watch 1st generation, iPod models back to iPod shuffle (4th generation), and the Display model Pro Display XDR.

Originally, this Polishing Cloth was included only with the Pro Display XDR that was sold with Standard glass for $4,999 or Nano-texture glass for $5,999.

Apple specified on its support website, “If your Apple Pro Display XDR has nano-texture glass, clean it using only the included polishing cloth.” On the interior of the package, an included cardboard insert explains that the cloth is “Safe for use on all Apple displays and surfaces. For infrequent cleaning of hard-to-remove smudges on nano-texture glass, a 70% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) solution may be used.”

Soon after the Polishing Cloth was posted on Apple’s site, various tech bloggers began writing tongue-in-cheek articles about the $19 cloth. The articles included reviews, announcements, and even a “tear-down” from the website iFixIt. Some example articles included:

Review: Apple’s polishing cloth is the new gold standard for device cleaning (9to5Mac)

Apple’s worst shipping delay is for a $19 polishing cloth (Engadget)

Apple’s Most Back-Ordered New Product Is Not What You Expect (New York Times)

2021 MacBook Pro Teardown: A Glimpse at a Better Timeline (iFixIt)

The original blogger who “broke” the story on October 19, 2021, (at 9:55AM) was Victoria Song on Engadget: Apple Wants You to Pay How Much for a Polishing Cloth?! Two weeks later, she proclaimed in a follow-up article, “The Apple Polishing Cloth Is Everything Wrong With Society” where she acknowledged “It was a fun bit, but like many things, it spiraled out of control.”

My testing reveals that this Polishing Cloth functions as described.

Sources: Apple (Polishing cloth, Support)

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