Apple’s fifth “Close Your Rings” employee challenge was held in 2021. According to MacRumors contributor, mikedop, the Close Your Rings Challenge:
“…is an internal challenge hosted by Apple’s Wellness team, which challenges employees to close their Apple Watch activity rings every day for an entire month. The challenge can be won at three different tiers: gold, silver, and bronze… Employees log their fitness in their Apple Watch, and after the month, are shipped a prize if they meet the qualifications. This challenge is offered to all employees within Apple, down to the retail level.”
Successful participants in the 2021 Close Your Rings challenge were sent a set of three microfiber towels that use the colors and designs of Apple’s Activity rings. Each towel is primarily black and has a two-sided tag with the Activity rings on one side and the Apple logo on the other. Each towel features a different design woven into the microfiber: one uses three thin stripes in the colors of the Activity rings along two sides, one uses a “21” design in a unique, triple-stroke font style using the Activity ring colors, and a third towel shows half of the three filled Activity rings.
My collection includes the stripe and “21” designs, but I do not have the half-Activity ring design.
The towels were packaged in a custom white box with the Activity rings printed on top. The towels were created by Sunscope USA under a brand DiLA, Designed in LA (Los Angeles).
The iPhone 13 Pro Silicone Case was “Designed by Apple to complement iPhone 13 Pro, the Silicone Case with MagSafe is a delightful way to protect your iPhone. The silky, soft-touch finish of the silicone exterior feels great in your hand. And on the inside, there’s a soft microfiber lining for even more protection.”
The case also included MagSafe magnets that extended the functionality of MagSafe built into the iPhone through the case. Apple described the functionality:
“With built-in magnets that align perfectly with iPhone 13 Pro, this case offers a magical attach experience and faster wireless charging, every time. When it’s time to charge, just leave the case on your iPhone and snap on your MagSafe charger, or set it on your Qi-certified charger.”
This iPhone 13 Pro Silicone Case is red and part of Apple’s (PRODUCT)RED line of products. In 2021–2022, Apple changed the (PRODUCT)RED statement to include the support of COVID-19: “Every (PRODUCT)RED purchase contributes equally to the fight to end AIDS and its impact from COVID-19.” Additional information specified that “A portion of the proceeds from every (PRODUCT)RED purchase goes to the Global Fund to fight AIDS with (RED). From now until December 31, 2022, half of those proceeds will go to the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the fight to end AIDS.”
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.
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.
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.
This iPod microfiber case shipped with one of the iPod models. The case is a microfiber-lined sleeve with stitched sides and the iPod logotype embossed on the top edge in the Myriad Apple font. The case measures 118×76 mm.
The iPad mini Smart cover was available for the original iPad mini. The outer cover was made of polyurethane and the interior had a microfiber lining. Magnets built into the cover allowed it to automatically wake when opened and sleep when closed. The cover could be folded into a stand to allow for viewing in an upright position or typing and drawing in a lower position.
The iPad Smart Case was available for the iPad Generation 2, 3, and 4. The outer case was made of polyurethane and the interior has a microfiber lining. Magnets built into the case allowed it to automatically wake when opened and sleep when closed. The cover could be folded into a stand to allow for viewing in an upright position or typing and drawing in a lower position.
The iPad Smart Case was available in (PRODUCT)RED, dark gray, light gray, pink, green, and light blue.
Because the part number begins with PD, it indicates that this case has been personalized. Because it is unopened, it is not clear what the personalized printing reads.