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The Apple product with the most backorders is not what you imagine

Albert Lee cleans his MacBook with an Apple polishing cloth in New York on October 28, 2021. (Gabriela Bhaskar / The New York Times)

OAKLAND, California – Apple unveiled a list of new devices this month: more powerful MacBook laptops, AirPods wireless headphones with longer battery life, and the HomePod mini speaker in three new colors.

Nonetheless, a different and less-announced launch from Apple is attracting so much interest that it has become the new product with the highest number of backorders from the company: a $ 19 cloth with dimensions of 16 by 16 centimeters to clean stains and fingerprints from the screens.

The cloth, engraved with the Apple logo in the corner, is made of “A soft and non-abrasive material” to clean the screens of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks “safely and efficiently,” according to the product page. The description adds that the polishing cloth is “compatible” with 88 Apple products. For most buyers in the United States, the earliest shipping date is pending until January 11.

Charging $ 19 for a piece of cloth the size of two dollar bills put together is daring even by the standards of Apple, a company whose legions of loyal customers are tied to very high prices. For example, a four-wheel kit with the mark Apple that “adds mobility” to the Mac Pro, the company’s most expensive desktop computer, is priced at $ 699.

Albert Lee's Four Polishing Pans in New York, October 28, 2021. (Gabriela Bhaskar / The New York Times)

Albert Lee’s four polishing cloths in New York, October 28, 2021. (Gabriela Bhaskar / The New York Times)

However, the polishing cloth stands out because it is much more expensive than widely available alternatives. MagicFiber, a popular brand of microfiber cloths that uses ultrafine fibers to clean glass without scratching the surface, offers a six-pack for $ 9 on Amazon.

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“You have to give them credit for having the audacity to charge $ 19,” Walter Gonzalez, president and founder of Goja, MagicFiber’s parent company, said of Apple.

Still, the price hasn’t stopped Apple fans from running to be among the first to get it.

Albert Lee, 47, a director of a consulting firm in New York, said he bought the cloth at an Apple store on Tuesday. He was shopping for a new MacBook Pro, a high-end laptop, when the polishing cloth caught his eye. He bought four and then posted a picture of his loot on Twitter.

“It’s just pure excess,” Lee acknowledged, calling his waste as an impulsive purchase of “the most luxurious cloth.” Added: “I just spent $ 4,000 on a laptop. What is another $ 19? “

On Twitter, the cloth has been cannon fodder for pranks and even a parody account has become popular since Apple quietly put it up for sale on October 18. Days later, when Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, posted a tweet promoting a new retail store in Turkey, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, taunted him by replying, “Come see the Apple cloth.” , with a trademark logo.

Technically, the cloth is not a new product. Apple previously provided it for free to customers who purchased one of its high-end monitors, the Pro Display XDR. The $ 5,999 monitor has a special type of glass that reduces reflections, but it could get scratched if you wipe it with a conventional cloth. Apple said it designed its own cloth for that special glass and decided to sell the product separately when some customers asked to buy additional ones.

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An Apple executive said in an interview, on the condition that The New York Times did not accurately quote or identify her, that the company was not surprised by the demand for the polishing cloth. The executive said that the cloth was very effective and had been designed to be special, including the chosen light gray color. Apple said the cloth was made with a non-woven microfiber, but declined to comment further.

© 2021 The New York Times Company

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