Apple's $35 Polishing Cloth draws ridicule, but sells out leading to order backlog

Out of all the devices launched in the last few weeks this one has attracted more attention that most.
Out of all the devices launched in the last few weeks this one has attracted more attention that most. Photo credit: Getty Images

Apple has released a slew of new products over the last few weeks from the iPhone 13 range to high-end laptops that push the boundaries in terms of performance.

But one launch in particular has set the Twittersphere on fire and it's decidedly not-tech in its nature.

The Cupertino-based tech giant has always been seen as a premium brand, with users often willing to pay slightly more for the company's devices compared to similar specifications in other forms.

But a NZ$35 polishing cloth may be taking that to a whole new level.

The white cloth is "made with soft, non-abrasive material" and "cleans any Apple display, including nano-texture glass, safely and effectively". It looks soft and the Apple logo is prominently featured, but it's the price point that has attracted most attention.

Its price in Aotearoa is just $15 below what is believed to be the cheapest new mobile phone on sale in the country - although the Alcatel 3080T isn't going to deliver the performance of an iPhone or the cleaning ability of the cloth.

Staggeringly, the cloth has become so popular that any Kiwis wanting one are unlikely to get one this side of Christmas unless Santa finds a secret stock somewhere.

The official Apple New Zealand website says anyone ordering won't get delivery for between 10 and 12 weeks, meaning it'll be 2022 before you can lay your hands on that non-abrasive material.

Social media users, of course, have had a field day, with most agog at the cost.

With tongue firmly in cheek, one offered some at a big markup.

"Want an Apple Polishing Cloth but can't wait? HAHAHAHA, er, I mean, I'm here to help. I have 11 left and would be happy to sell you one for US$225 through my Amazon Scalping, er, Merchandise Store," they tweeted.

Another branded the expensive cloth an "incredible move" by Apple.

"After an event where 90 percent of the customers won't order any of the presented products, Apple releases a useless cloth just to make people think: 'OK, at least I can buy this'. Production cost? $1-$2, I suppose. SOLD OUT," the observed.

Others seem bemused, with one saying they'll wait for a refurbished, second-generation Apple cloth to save some money.

The company also lists a handy compatibility list on the website if you're not sure if your device is able to be safely used with the new cloth. It contains 88 devices, all the way from first generation Apple Watches to 16-inch MacBook Pros.

There's no word yet on whether an upgraded Polishing Cloth Pro or Polishing Cloth Max is in the works.