iWork ’09 (Retail): No longer uses a serial number

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
January 21st, 2009 • 11:20 am

Macworld (UK) reports on something that I noticed myself when I received my retail copy of iWork ’09 in the mail: it no longer uses a serial number.

This was somewhat disconcerting, as I had been using the trial version downloaded from the Apple web site for a few days, and so I thought I would just have to enter a serial number and that would be it.

Instead, I had to figure out by myself that I was supposed to reinstall the suite from the disc, even though it was already installed on my hard drive.

Once I had done that, indeed when I launched Pages it just offered me to register, and then I was up and running with a fully fonctional copy of iWork.

According to Macworld, for those who download and install the trial version and then want to exit the trial mode by purchasing the suite, the purchasing process still uses a serial number. It’s a bit strange to have two different “activation” schemes, one for the retail version and one for the electronic version.

What really bothers me, however, is that, now that the boxed version no longer uses a serial number, the only way to install it is by using the disc that came in the boxed version. This means that, if I ever misplace this disc, I will be toast and will have to purchase another copy.

With a serial number, I feel significantly safer, because, whenever I purchase something with a serial number, I enter it in my super-safe database of passwords and serial numbers, which is encrypted and protected by a master password and of which I always have multiple backup copies in various places. So once I own a serial number, I feel very safe in the knowledge that I will never misplace it.

With a physical disc, things are not quite the same.

Don’t get me wrong: I am all for Apple ditching copy protection and DRM and all that crap. But paradoxically, the serial-number scheme was actually, as far as I am concerned, a convenience, a useful thing. It made me feel safe that I really owned a copy of the software and didn’t run any risk to accidentally lose that ownership.

Now with the physical disc I no longer feel as safe. I am not too worried, because my office is reasonably well organized, but still…

(For those who might wonder why I bothered with the boxed version in the first place, the reason is that I work for an educational institution and we are entitled to education pricing. And the education price for iWork is significantly lower than the regular retail price. It’s actually half-price.)

Interestingly, when I first encountered the situation and e-mailed my Apple Canada Education representative about it, she claimed that it was news to her and that she would have to enquire about it. She still hasn’t got back to me. I guess I should send her a link to the Macworld article.

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