Apple: Use only our special cloth to clean the $1,000 coating on our $5,000 Pro Display
If you thought the saga of the $7,000 Apple Pro Display XDR couldnt get any more ridiculous, prepare yourself for the proverbial cherry on top: The company insists that you only use the single special cleaning cloth that comes with the monitor. If you lose it, youre advised to order another.
Apple, already under fire from longtime users for the ever-increasing price of its products, attracted considerable ire and ridicule when it announced the high-end monitor in June. Of course there are many expensive displays out there it was more the fact that Apple was selling the display for $5,000, the stand separately for $999, and an optional nano-texture coating for an additional grand.
Technically its not actually a coating but an extremely small-scale etching of the surface that supposedly produces improved image quality without some of the drawbacks of a full-matte coating. Typical matte displays have a coating added to their surface that scatters light. However, these coatings lower contrast while producing unwanted haze and sparkle, the product description reads. Not so with nano-texture.
Unfortunately, the unique nature of the glass necessitates special care when cleaning.
Use only the dry polishing cloth that comes with your display, reads the support page How to clean your Apple Pro Display XDR. Never use any other cloths to clean the nano-texture glass. If you lose the included polishing cloth, you can contact Apple to order a replacement polishing cloth. (No price is listed, so Ive asked Apple for more information.)
Obviously if youre cleaning an expensive screen you dont want to do it with Windex and wadded-up newspaper. But its not clear what differentiates Apples cloth from an ordinary microfiber wipe.
Do the nano-scale ridges shred ordinary mortal cloth and get fibers caught in their interstices? Can the nano-texture be damaged by anything of insufficient softness?
Apple seems to be presuming a certain amount of courage on the part of consumers, who must pay a great deal for something that not only provides an uncertain benefit (even Apple admits that the display without the coating is engineered for extremely low reflectivity) but seems susceptible to damage from even the lightest mishandling.
No doubt the Pro Display XDR is a beautiful display, and naturally only those who feel it is worth the price will buy one. But no one likes to have to baby their gadgets, and Apples devices have also gotten more fragile and less readily repairable. The companys special cloth may be a small, even silly thing, but its part of a large and worrying trend.