Apple's $19 screen-cleaning cloth sets high bar for brand extras

(Photo: Bloomberg)
Apple Inc.’s biggest debut on Monday was undoubtedly its MacBook Pro overhaul, but the company also unveiled a polishing cloth with its signature logo debossed in one corner. Price tag? $19.

 
The accessory, listed as compatible with iPhones as far back as the iPhone 6 and Macs dating back to 2012, is made of nonabrasive material and is already in short supply, requiring 3 to 4 weeks to ship. On Amazon.com, premium microfiber cloths go for $1.50 each, putting Apple’s new Polishing Cloth in the running for its highest-margin physical product.

The Cupertino, California-based company has a history of pushing price boundaries with its products and accessories. The iPhone was the first smartphone to approach and surpass the $1,000 mark and it’s only grown in popularity since then, dragging the rest of the mobile industry along. In 2019, Apple introduced an updated Mac Pro with a top configuration option costing more than $50,000. The accompanying Pro Display XDR monitor sells for $4,999 -- without a stand. The Pro Stand that Apple sells is a further $999.

Purchasing the new MacBook Pro 16-inch model with an M1 Max processor, 8TB of storage and an abundance of memory would set buyers back in excess of $6,000. Like the Polishing Cloth, such a machine would take as long as 4 weeks to ship, though unlike the cloth, the laptop has cutting-edge features and capabilities that have earned positive responses online.

Apple’s vertiginous pricing doesn’t always work out. In 2015, it introduced the Apple Watch Edition, a $17,000 wearable with 18-karat gold casing. But customers balked at paying so much for technology that would quickly become outdated. 

Apple later struck a balance between luxury and practicality with its watches. It now has watch bands for $49 and a Hermès Fauve Barénia Gourmette Double Tour version for $849.



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