The statistics are gross: Touch screens carry 18 times the amount of bacteria as a toilet handle in a men’s public bathroom, and up to 30% of viruses that get you sick can jump from fingers to the surface of a phone. And as obsessed as we may be with Purell, we can’t use those same alcohol-based cleaners without damaging touch screens like Apple’s OLED displays. Still, peruse an Apple store or a Best Buy, and the computer screen cleaners look like regular old household cleaning products.
With this in mind–the notion that no self-respecting laptop-tablet-smartphone user would keep Windex on their desk–a Copenhagen-based company called AM is rolling out a new line of all-in-one sprays, cleaning pumps and wipes, designed to clean and be seen. The funny thing about this company, versus another Apple-peripherals startup, is that AM actually began in 1971, when record players, not iPads, were in need of a wipe down.
“Bang & Olufsen was known to have a very high design level. They were top of the pop within design, more than in sound,” says Anders Moesgaard, who founded AM as an 18-year-old. “We said we have to do something that can stand next to a Bang & Olufsen record player, and then we can stand next to everything.” Moesgaard was an early tech-adjacency entrepreneur, and his line of products sported packaging sexy enough to earn a nod from Hugh Hefner, in a now-vintage Playboy magazine article on how to take care of home entertainment systems.
Fast forward 40 years later, and Moesgaard’s son, Jacob, is retrofitting the line so it can work in tandem with the new guard of tech design–Apple. AM’s basic thesis is that we need to clean our gadgets (cue the toilet seat statistic again), but only nicely designed products that could sit next to paperweights and picture frames on our desks will ever be put to use. At the outset, the duo went straight to Apple stores for boots-on-the-ground research. “Every single time they’ve done a sell on an iPad they have the staff come over and do an easy pay solution right there,” says the younger Moesgaard. “They have this big clunky microfiber cloth that they pull out of their back pocket. Then they put it in their back pocket again and it’s dirty. It’s not an Apple-esque kind of solution.”
Created with New York-based design consultancy Aruliden, the products channel Apple’s design language, right down to the rounded square corners on the portable cleaners and wipe packets. There’s a suite of products, ranging from a desktop cleaning pump to keychain-ready sprays wrapped in microfiber cloth, so that you can spray and wipe in one smooth motion.
AM’s cloths ($14.95), wipes ($9.95), giant spray ($19.95), and refill bottle ($11.95) will be available at select retailers in September.