Apple recently began selling a microfiber cloth for $19, which caused some controversy since cleaning cloths typically sell for two or three dollars.
So what’s so special about Apple’s polishing cloth?
Well, the short answer is, not much. It’s a little thicker than cheaper alternatives, thanks to its non-woven type of microfiber, but a lower-cost cloth will clean your devices and displays just the same.
The real value in Apple’s polishing cloth is the design, the rounded corners, reinforced edges, thicker material, white color and embossed logo. This is why customers choose to buy it over something that isn’t as pleasing to look at.
But this $19 cloth represents something deeper that’s been frustrating customers for years, and that’s the recent trend of Apple removing bundled accessories and selling them separately for a premium price.
Before Apple’s $19 polishing cloth there was the free microfiber cleaning cloth included with every Mac and even some early iPhones, but it was removed and now costs an extra $19, that is, unless you buy the Pro Display XDR, since Apple generously includes the cloth with your five thousand dollar purchase, but the polishing cloth isn’t the only accessory that used to be included for free.
Remember the EarPods?
They also happen to cost $19 and used to be included with every iPhone. Along with the power brick which costs, you guessed it, $19. This strategy of maximizing profit is common among corporations like Apple, but what’s not so common is how high the company marks up their accessories. For example we couldn’t find any other company selling a single microfiber cloth for $19 nor could I find a display manufacturer selling a stand for $1,000 and when it comes to Apple’s Mac Pro Wheels, $700 for a 4-pack is unheard of in the industry. But despite these shockingly high prices, Apples accessories still sell, in fact the $19 microfiber cloth sold out in 48 hours, with deliveries being delayed almost 2 months, all while receiving lots of free advertising. Elon Musk even mentioned the Apple Cloth in one of his tweets. And considering Apple’s wearables home and accessories business is the size of a fortune 140 company I doubt they’ll be lowering accessory prices anytime soon.
This article is inspired by a video in Apple Explained YouTube channel.