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Apple preps new serial number format

updated 12:30 pm EDT, Wed April 12, 2006

New Apple serial numbers

Apple is preparing to utilize a revamped serial number format for the company's hardware products next month which it says will offer better support for continued growth and scalability. All "finished goods" under the new format will obtain a serial number that consists of 18 numeric digits, versus Apple's current 11-character alphanumeric scheme. AppleCare Protection Plans and AppleCare Support IDs will be covered by the new scheme, although software products will still be excluded. Apple began informing its service partners of the modification in January, requesting that they update their own in-house systems to be ready when Apple begins using the new format in May. Apple is also planning to roll out new subassembly serial numbers for components such as logic boards, optical drives, and wireless kits.

Apple warned that service providers who currently rely on bar code scanning will also need to ensure that they are using the Barcode 128 standard or an equivalent, according to AppleInsider. Barcode 128 is a standard that can encode numbers, text, numerous functions, and the 128 character ASCII character set in its entirety.

Apple still requires that service providers support the old 11-character alphanumeric serial numbers for a span of at least five years, according to the report.

by MacNN Staff





  1. siMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Stop the Presses!

    Hold the front page!

    Seriously though, reporting this is the kind of c*** that gets us labelled as 'fanatics' by non Mac users...

  1. Hobeaux

    Joined: Dec 1969


    of course, you know

    that you did stop to read the article, which, uh, kinda makes you, fanatical. ;)

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Think it through:

    You don't have to go out of your way to read this article. It's the top news item on the site (at least for now)!!! You cannot not read it! Therefore, you see a silly headline about an obscure detail in Apple life and you feel compelled to comment on it. Of course, the rest of us notice '2 Comments' below the news item and are even more intrigued to see what possible could people comment about about such an insignificant piece of news. It's not exactly fanaticism; it's more human curiosity than anaything else.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Read between the lines...

    Not so much -- though of course MacNN has failed to see the significance of this, or even mention it - but new serial numbers, means new products, and if Apple alerts resellers that the new serial numbers will go into use in May, that means new products are to be expected in May.

    So, taken into context, with a little bit of thinking, not so insignificant a bit of news.

  1. robfarri

    Joined: Dec 1969



    this is possibly the lamest 'news' ever. I am starting to question my RSS feed.

  1. fletcher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Resellers Need News Too

    Not everyone reading MacNN is an end-user. I'm sure there are plenty of resellers and deveopers who might actually be interested in this news item. Small shops or freelancers who aren't necessarily on Apple's distribution list.

    There are whole classes of products that I don't use, but I like to hear about new developments in them anyway. It helps me keep my finger on the pulse of what's out there in case I ever do need those products.

    In any case, if people are trolling MacNN looking for evidence of fanaticism then I'm sure they'll find it whether this article is published or not.

  1. DarkVader

    Joined: Dec 1969


    resellers already knew

    I got an email about a month ago about this.

    About the only real significance to the end-user will be that when you call for support, you won't have to worry about the letter in the serial number being misheard. You know, "Did you say M or N?"

    As far as it meaning that there will be new products, yes, Apple will be releasing new products. Really, they're coming. And then Apple will release new products to replace those. And so on. We should not be expecting Apple to suddenly announce that there will be no more new products ever.

    It is a bit significant in that we have to make sure our systems don't have Apple serial number validity checks that won't accept the new numbers - and I know some of ours do (or did, I think we've got them fixed now.)

    Anyway, for everybody else, it's just a bit of Apple trivia - and not nearly as much fun as tech note 31.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: resellers already

    As far as it meaning that there will be new products, yes, Apple will be releasing new products. Really, they're coming. And then Apple will release new products to replace those. And so on. We should not be expecting Apple to suddenly announce that there will be no more new products ever.

    Man, you're in trouble now. Releasing confidential information like this? You must be under an NDA or something, yet, there you go, basically telling the world that apple will be releasing new products, and, one day, releasing products to replace those. That, in effect, means that the first set of new products being released are going to be a major smash (otherwise they'd be killed, not replaced)!

    So we all know what that mans, right? Apple's releasing an iPhone with PDA and DVR capabilities! Just what we've all been chanting for! (Yes, chanting, since we are fanatics).

    Too bad darkvader is off to Apple jail for letting the cat out of the bag and won't be able to record Desparate Housewives while talking on the phone!

  1. moreno

    Joined: Dec 1969


    expanding market

    more combinations in the serial number = more expected machines to be sold apple indeed wants to grow up its worldwide market after the intel transition..

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