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Apple’s RM99 screen-cleaning cloth sets high bar for brand extras

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? US$19 (listed as RM99 on the Apple Malaysia store).

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 three to four weeks to ship. On Amazon.com, premium microfiber cloths go for US$1.50 (RM6.24) 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 US$1,000 (RM4,162) 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 US$50,000 (RM208,100). The accompanying Pro Display XDR monitor sells for US$4,999 (RM20,805) – without a stand. The Pro Stand that Apple sells is a further US$999 (RM4,157).

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 US$6,000 (RM24,972). Like the Polishing Cloth, such a machine would take as long as four 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 US$17,000 wearable (RM70,754) 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 But customers balked at paying so much for technology that would quickly become outdated.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 US$49 (RM203) and a Hermès Fauve Barénia Gourmette Double Tour version for US$849 (RM3,533). – Bloomberg

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