If you have another Apple device you can use the Find my iPhone service
this will allow you to locate your device...should it be turned on and connected to 3g/wifi.
Apple (and no one else) can not assist (with serial number or iCloud) in finding a lost or stolen iPad.
Report to police along with serial number. Change all your passwords.
These links may be helpful.
How to Track and Report Stolen iPad
Reporting a lost or stolen Apple product
iCloud: Locate your device on a map
Report Stolen iPad Tips and iPad Theft Prevention
How to recover a lost or stolen iPad
iCloud: Locate your device on a map
How to Find a Stolen iPad
Apple Product Lost or Stolen
Oops! iForgot My New iPad On the Plane; Now What?
If you don't know your lost/stolen iPad's serial number, use the instructions below. The S/N is also on the iPad's box.
How to Find Your iPad Serial Number
iOS: How to find the serial number, IMEI, MEID, CDN, and ICCID number
I'm not sure why people keep saying there is no way for apple to track a device based on serial number. They can, they just won't. Clearly, if I can get my serial number from apple, then they have a database of registered serial numbers.
It's an easy task to search the database for a serial number, meaning they know when someone else registers your stolen serial number. The real issue is, they just don't want to get involved with disputes.
In addition to "find my iPad" apple could easily create a "lock down my serial number" feature, which would trigger a lock of the device if anyone were to register a stolen serial number. Again, they just won't do this because there is no business profit in doing it.
There is profit in making sure you don't copy a .99 song, so those get protected.
So, my issue is please stop saying there is no way to track serial numbers. There is a way, it's just apple won't do it. Personally, I see this as a great opportunity for apple to sell an anti theft service, but that's just me.
You really aren't following what people are asking; they want to know if Apple can locate the physical location of the iPad through the serial number. And Apple cannot do that.
You do not have to register an iPad, only activate it. Apple could possibly block activation but they would only do so if they received a court order based upon a valid offense report. This is for their protection and the privacy of the buyers and sellers as well as to prevent fraud situations.
I'm not interested in discussing reading comprehension, so instead let's read what this person asked and anyone else reading this thread can decide what's being asked:
"i would like to know if i can get my ipad back through the device serial number? "
Practical answer is no, because apple won't help you. Notice the question above does not mention "locate"
Your second paragraph speculates about what apple could do based on certain actions. Instead of speculate, we know that apple is willing to completely wipe a device if connected to wifi, and/or lock it from use, based only on someone with a registered ID telling them to do so. The issue is, the device needs to be connected. These are fairly aggressive measures taken despite privacy and fraud concerns, and these measures really aren't that different from blocking activation.
The problem with apple's current security measures is a thief can wipe the OS and thereby remove the apple ID, rendering all of the measures useless. Theifs easily avoid the security messures.
A solution is to pull information from the device that can't be removed . . . like the serial number. I believe this is why people keep asking if apple will help them based on the serial number, because the serial number is extremely difficult to remove or replace. You could use any other device ID that remains the same after wiping the pad and setting it up as a new device.
As for your last paragraph, I agree, you don't "have to" register an iPad, but then again, you don't "have to" turn on find my iPad. For that matter, you don't "have to" create an apple ID.
I like focusing on solutions, so let imagine a world where users could, through the Pad itself, access a list of know stolen serial numbers . . . again, not that hard to do if apple wanted to do it. This alone might devalue stolen pads by reducing the market for them. If I plan on buying a used pad from a seller, I check the list of known stolen devices, and avoid the purchase. Better yet, I can report that the pad is being sold by someone . . . This may not stop the sale of all stolen pads, but it would certainly make it harder to sell a stolen pad, and thereby decrease the value of stolen pads, hopefully leading to fewer pads being stolen.
Other points from your last paragraph: being a licensed lawyer, I would point out that there is no "order" you can get from a court based on an offense report. I like your idea of requiring a police report to list a stolen pad serial number: that seems like a reasonable requirement to demonstrate actual theft of the device.
In all of your post, I think your last sentence hit the nail on the head: apple won't do these things "for their protection", which is another way to say they don't make money providing these services. I am simply challenging apple to figure out a way to make money BY providing the service people want.
With iOS 7 later in the year, from http://www.apple.com/ios/ios7/features/ :
... new security features in iOS 7 make it harder for anyone who’s not you to use or sell your device. Now turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your device requires your Apple ID and password. Find My iPhone can also continue to display a custom message, even after your device is erased. And your Apple ID and password are required before anyone can reactivate it. Which means your iPhone is still your iPhone. No matter where it is.
Excellent new features ! Seems like simple yet effective solutions. Thank you apple !
As you can tell, I've lost my share of apple devices to theft. I love the devices, but so does every theif willing to take from others. I've gone so far as to buy inexpensive devices, just because I know people will steal them at some point.
My experience with theft is why I believe apple will sell more devices, at higer prices, if they help protect their customers from theft.
And if you read their entire thread they had tried to find it through Find My iPad but the thief had wiped it.
We know that the user can wipe the device, send a message to it, etc. through iCloud using your Apple ID. And as the penguin pointed out this will be strengthened in iOS 7.
Find My iPhone, etc. wasn't really designed from the start to be a security means for theft, it was to find it if you left it somewhere or mislaid it. I like solutions too but Apple, nor any other electronics manufacturer, is not in the police business and privacy issues and resale are already a problem.
For privacy reasons Apple would probably never maintain a database of stolen device numbers for access by the public and again they would have to receive them from a legitimate law enforcment agency which would mean a system would have to be set up to transfer them. Given the current climate that isn't going to happen.
You must be a specialized civil attorney, there are a number of warrants and court orders you can get from a police offense report. And police departments always have listed serial numbers in the offense report, if the reporting party does not have one on starting the report they can call it in later and it can be added via supplement.
-See previous post regarding reading comprehension.
-Love the new features.
-Why find my pad was first developed seems irrelevant. I like security, and I believe other customers do too.
-The stolen serial number database may not work for apple, the police are unlikely to implement a useful technology or system.
-Your assumptions about me aren't accurate, yet your assumptions about me aren't really that important to me.
This is the last post I'll make, so thank you for engaging in a conversation.
Someone who has lost a pad to theft is never going to get a warrant from a criminal court that authorizes apple to do anything - period. Courts deal with cases between parties, not one person's attempts to recover a stolen pad. Also, courts don't issue individuals warrants: warrants are issued to the state and its representatives.
Again, I leave it up to others reading this thread to resolve the confusion, yet I find lack of clarity potentially harmful to people who are looking for useful information.
I'm just aksing for clarity: Avoid telling people something can't be done, when it clearly could. (See example, iOS 7, which addresses these issues); or equally bad, telling someone something can be done, when it clearly can't. (See example, an individual recieving a warrant from a court).
Kudos to apple for increasing security. Theft of devices is a huge problem, and anytyhing they do to make devices safer and more secure creates a great deal of customer value, imo.