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.