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macrumors 601
Original poster
May 30, 2010
(TL;DR? Skip to the takeaways at the bottom.)

In other threads lots of people, myself included, have been speculating about AirPower and Apple’s plans based on the manufacture dates of the new AirPods and the inclusion of wording/imagery of AirPower on the boxes.

The argument is that some of these new AirPods show manufacture dates of August, and that Apple therefore has likely being delaying their release in the hope AirPower would soon be ready so they can be released at the same time.

But while browsing the iFixit tear down I noticed that the new AirPods include serial numbers etched on the buds themselves, not just on the case as they were previously.

These serials numbers are different to the one on the box/charging case.

On one of my AirPods with wireless case, the case has a serial number like this (slightly edited for privacy):


Decoding that, GK is the factory, X9 refers to week 35 of 2018 (August 27-September 2), and JMMT is the model identifier.

But the serial number of the left AirPod is like:


Indicating a week 8 of 2019 manufacture.

And the right is:


Indicating a week 9 of 2019 manufacture.

I have other new AirPods and the story is the same albeit with slightly different dates.

Some takeaways from this:
  1. Despite showing serial numbers from 2018 on the box, these new AirPods cannot have been packaged back then because the buds contained in them weren’t manufactured until a few weeks ago.
  2. This means Apple was shrink-wrapping boxes with AirPower branding on just WEEKS ago. Why would they do this? This implies AirPower has literally only just been cancelled internally.
  3. Why have cases been sat around in warehouses for months with no buds to go in them? Could this mean that Apple was initially planning on releasing a wireless case for the AirPods, but no actual new AirPods? Maybe these are the rumoured ‘true second gen’, and not the v1.5 people have been talking about, after all.
If you want to check your AirPods’ date of birth, will assist you. :D


macrumors newbie
Jul 16, 2018
Put my serial number in, says manufactured October 2018 - is this the case then or the actual AirPods?

Took the serial number from the box.]

Edit: Case manufactured Oct 2018, Airpods manufactured January 2019
Last edited:


macrumors G3
Sep 22, 2012
Andover, UK
I've not checked the case but only the serial number that shows up for my AirPods in iOS .... Week 10 (March) 2019


macrumors 6502a
Mar 20, 2012
Rumors pointed to launching with the XS/XR but was pushed back. They showed an Apple employee saying "hey siri" while having the AirPods on during the "mission impossible" skit at the start of the show. I'm glad they were launched this year. The ROI for Gen1 blew up during the holiday season with the help of the "I don't speak broke" meme.

It also helps launching during lean season so they can ramp up supply for this solid second gen product. The Wireless charger was ready since October as some of you have pointed out.
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