Apple gadgets are expensive. The accessories for those gadgets are also expensive. This we know, and yet, the company seems to always find new ways to make us go: Wait, you want us to pay how much now?
The latest is a polishing cloth. Yes, a polishing cloth that you buy separately from a device. You know, one of those “soft, nonabrasive” materials for cleaning glass and screens. Specifically, Apple says it cleans “any Apple display, including nano-texture glass, safely and effectively.” Under the compatibility section, the product page then goes to list every Apple device under the sun.
It costs $19.
Granted, I have not held one of these special polishing clothes in my hands. However, my editor Caitlin McGarry has and it is supposedly “fine.” At a glance, it looks like a microfiber cloth with an Apple logo stamped on it. I am agog, I am aghast. You can get a 24-pack of Amazon Basics microfiber cleaning cloths for $14. Microfiber cloths specifically made for glass also come in 6-packs for anywhere between $6-9.
To be 100% fair, it appears this cloth is for Apple’s Pro Display XDR and the 27-inch 2020 iMac. These displays feature the aforementioned nano-texture glass. According to Apple’s support page on cleaning nano-texture glass, you should “use only the polishing cloth that came with your Pro Display XDR or iMac.” Supposedly, this is because the nano-texture glass is incredibly delicate and can be damaged by other cleaning cloths. Mmhmm. The cleaning cloth also comes for free with these displays, which are expensive as all hell. Previously, if you lost the holy Polishing Cloth, you had to contact Apple support to get a replacement. Now, it appears you can just buy a replacement online for... $19.
Given that a Pro Display XDR with a nano-texture glass display costs a cool $5,999, mayhaps you don’t want to risk borking it up with just any old cloth. To which I would say, just don’t get the nano-texture glass and save yourself $1,000. But being generous, sure, those folks can buy the $19 cloth. (Though please, if you have plopped six grand for that nano-texture glass and used a regular microfiber cloth, feel free to tell us how it feels living on the wild side.) But for every other Apple device under the sun, stop it. Just stop. I have cleaned my MacBook Pros, iPads, Apple Watches, and iPhones with the free microfiber cloth that comes with every pair of glasses I buy. I assure you, it works just fine.