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.

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)

iMac Pro guide and accessories (2019)

Instead of sending a manual with Mac devices, Apple includes this 2-page brochure that provides a diagram of the ports, power button, camera, basic macOS features, list of accessories, charging instructions for the keyboard and mouse, and URLs to access the online “manual” (iMac Pro Essentials guide) and support. In addition, Apple includes two complimentary Apple logo stickers and a microfiber screen cloth.

The Apple logo stickers that shipped with the iMac Pro—and other “Pro” Mac devices—are black. Other Apple logo stickers are most often white.

All these items are enclosed in a custom white cardboard envelope. The envelope measures 3.75 x 4.5 inches and is approximately 0.1875 inch thick.

Cloth (for iMac Core 2 Duo, 2007)

Beginning in the mid-2000s, some iMac models shipped with an “official” cleaning cloth that was referenced in the iMac manual:

“Cleaning Your iMac Display. Use the cloth that came with your iMac to clean the display… Dampen the cloth that came with your iMac, or another clean, soft, lint-free cloth, with water only and wipe the screen. Do not spray liquid directly on the screen.”

This version of the cleaning cloth is black microfiber with an Apple logo embossed in the center edge of one side. The packaging places the embossed Apple logo in the corner due to the manner in which the cloth is folded in its clear envelope-style package.

Source: Apple