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iFixit actually tore down Apple’s backordered $19 screen cloth

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Cloth-22: you can’t repair it, you can’t replace it

Image: iFixit

I can’t say I expected there to be more news about Apple’s $19 Screen Polishing cloth, but here we are. Not only has iFixit given it the teardown treatment and a (perhaps slightly tongue-in-cheek) repair score, but it’s apparently become one of Apple’s hardest-to-get products. And yes, to reiterate, we are still talking about a cloth made to clean your devices’ screens.

As noted by The New York Times, the 6.3-inch-sided square of fabric is now backordered, with Apple’s website saying that you won’t get it for 10-12 weeks, meaning it’ll get delivered sometime between January 7th and January 21st, 2022. If you order pretty much any configuration of the redesigned MacBook Pro that the cloth launched with, you’ll get your custom-built laptop at least a week before you get your cleaning cloth — and that’s with the worst-case estimate for the MacBook and best-case one for the cloth.

Not too bad, in comparison.

Why is this happening? How did it catch the attention of The New York Times? Maybe looking at iFixit’s teardown will provide some answers! (Spoiler: nope.)

iFixit doesn’t have a dedicated page for The Cloth, so you’ll have to scroll past a bunch of boring details about the MacBook that I’m definitely not drooling over to see the results. Once you do, though, its a surprisingly in-depth look at the accessory. iFixit reveals that it’s actually two pieces of material glued together and even takes a microscope to it to compare it to regular old microfiber. The teardown is brief (obviously, it’s literally a cloth), but well worth a look.

Breaking news: it’s a cloth and a potential ravioli.
Image: iFixit

But when compared to the actually decent (for Apple, at least) reparability of the new MacBook Pro, the Polishing Cloth gets a disappointing 0 / 10 repair score for distracting the iFixit crew. That’s really a bummer, because if you accidentally cut yours to pieces like iFixit did, you’ll have to wait a couple months to get a replacement.

Finally, if you needed yet another reason to check out iFixit’s article (besides, you know, the in-depth technical breakdown of Apple’s new laptops) just know that it has one of the funniest American Psycho references I’ve seen for a while. Hats off to you, iFixit, for providing us with something fun to look at on a Friday (and for coming to The Verge’s birthday party to teach people how to fix JoyCon last weekend).


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