There are times when the ridiculousness of Apple products comes to the forefront and you can do nothing but shake your head. It happened again this week.
In a support page on its website, Apple says that if you buy the $6,000 Pro Display XDR with a nano-texture screen, you can only use the special Apple-made cloth that comes in the box to clean the display. If you use another cloth or liquid to clean the screen, you run the risk of damaging it.
Worse yet, Apple says that if you somehow misplace your magic cloth or otherwise need a new one, you should contact the company to get a replacement. Apple hasn't said how much that replacement will cost.
Of course, when the support page was published, Apple obsessives around the globe groaned over the company's decision. It was another ridiculous example, they said, of Apple forcing people to use its own accessories and create a sense that only its proprietary cloth could and should be used with the Pro Display XDR.
I understand the sentiment. After all, I've lived through Apple removing components and ports to push us to buy other technologies. And like many, I've been shocked at the prices Apple charges for simple components. And yes, in some ways, the move is ridiculous.
But I think we also need to acknowledge that maybe Apple is right and users shouldn't run the risk of trying to use another cloth or believing that a third-party provider can easily create another cloth and keep the Pro Display XDR safe.
Whether we like it or not, the Pro Display XDR is exceedingly expensive. And its nano-texture technology, which creates a matte finish to reduce glare and still provide a high-end visual experience, is new to Apple's product lineup. While it's entirely possible that over time, other companies will deliver cloths that are safe to use with the nano-texture-equipped Pro Display XDR, at launch, only Apple will have a solution for actually keeping the screen clean.
Apple is also extremely proficient at getting people to forget about these kinds of oddities over time. The Pro Display XDR nano-texture model will come with Apple's special cloth and likely won't need to be replaced anytime soon. Time will go on, Apple will announce other ludicrous policies, and this cloth infraction will be forgotten.
Still, I want to know what Apple plans to charge for this magic cloth. Considering the company is charging up to $52,000 for a Mac Pro, $6,000 for a Pro Display XDR, and $999 for a monitor stand, I wouldn't be surprised by any number at this point. Is it a $100 cloth? $50? Or should we expect it to reach $500? At this point, no guess is too outlandish.
After all, what can be more outlandish and ludicrous than needing a special cloth to keep smudges off a screen?