• About Us
  • Blog
  • Basket
  • Account
  • Sign In
  •  

Blog

Apple Standalone on Device Detection

Published on Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Apple Standalone on Device Detection

Exposing the crippling solution used to detect iPhone and iPad models

Device Detection is among the best techniques available to optimize web sites for multi-screen. The power of the web server and the web browser are both utilized to deliver the most appropriate processes and screen layout for each device category. When combined with Responsive Web Design (RWD) the resulting improvement in user experience leads to visitors staying for longer and spending more.

Example Euro Millions lottery game card for different devices - see Loterie Nationale Case Study

Apple are Different

Device vendors as varied as the mighty Samsung, to brands like Pantech and Micromax all recognize the importance of supporting this distinction between devices. Information about the model of device is embedded into the data sent to web sites. However Apple do not fully support this approach.

As a result a more complex process of identifying Apple devices is required by device detection solutions like 51Degrees. Measuring the ratio of screen height and width, plus examining the pixel density provides insight into the iPhone model. It reveals most of the important information needed by web site owners to differentiate by screen size.

However the technique is not without its problems. Detailed examination of Apple iPhones and various web browsers by the 51Degrees data analysis team shows that an iPhone 6 plus in zoom mode shares the same reported screen information as an iPhone 5. Where screen sizes are similar such as across the 5 and 5c it’s not possible to tell the devices apart.

The technique does not work for iPad’s where the reported screen information is almost identical across most models.

Desperate Device Detection

Some device detection solutions have tried to address the problem by artificially stressing the iPhone or iPad to determine how quickly its processor can complete iterative tasks (Micro Benchmarking). Understanding how the device performs under stress provides an indication as to the CPU used and therefore the model of device. The approach can yield more information but ironically at the expense of user experience as the page load time increases and the battery is drained more rapidly.

Example analysis of stress tests performed on newer iPads

Competitors who adopt this approach acknowledge up to 100ms processing times. In reality on older models the delay could be much greater. The concept is terrible in theory and awful in practice. 51Degrees have never used this approach. We choose not to. A full technical analysis covering all Apple iPhone and iPad products and all the major browsers is available here.

Request to Apple

If every web site were to stress iPhones and iPads to gain model information the web would slow down for Apple users. This isn’t in Apple’s interest. Fortunately only a minority of device detection solutions currently utilize stress testing.

The need to use such techniques would be eliminated if Apple were to make a very simple modification in a future update of iOS and provide the information they already provide to application developers to web developers. Such a move would bring Apple into line with all other major device vendors.

In the past when most iPhone’s and iPad’s shared the same screen information the problem was annoying but not critical. The arrival of the iPhone 6 has made the issues more pressing. Perhaps Apple have not considered the need to change their policy. Now would be the time for Apple to do so before those less responsible than 51Degrees slow down the web for Apple customers.

Read Full Analysis
Comments (0)

Author: James Rosewell

Categories: Opinion

Tags: Apple , Performance

James Rosewell
>

James Rosewell

Other posts by James Rosewell
Contact author

Name:
Email:
Subject:
Message:
x

Tags

.NET 2013 2014 4G 51Degrees 5G A.C.Roma A7 ABI Acer Affiliate Marketing Alcatel Amazon AMP Analysis Analytics Android Android 5.0 Lollipop Android Kitkat Android Lollipop Android Media Stick Apache API Apple Apple TV Archos Asha Asian Market ASP.NET Asus Australia Big Data Black Friday Blackberry Blink Browser C C# Case Study CeBIT CES Chrome Cloud CMS combinations Comparison Competition CoolPad COTW Cron CSS3 Data Data Blog Data File Data Model Daydream Denver Design Desire Eye Desktop Detection Developers Device Device Data Device Detection Device Intelligence Device Popularity Device property Device Types Device Use Display dmexco DoCoMo Doogee DotNetNuke Download Drupal Email EReader E-Reader Ericsson Evaluation Event Examples EXPLAY Rio Facebook feature Firefox Firefox OS Fly Foundation Framework France Galaxy S3 Galaxy S5 Galaxy Tab A Galaxy Tab A 8.0 Galaxy Tab A 9.7 Germany git repositories Global Google Google Daydream GSMA HAProxy Hardware Hisense HTC HTC ONE MAX HTC OS HTML5 HTTP HTTP Headers Huawei HUAWEI. UPDATE HUDL Huwaei IBC Icemobile Prime 4.0 IE IFA IIS Image Optimiser Image Optimizer India Infographic Ingeniux Internet usage iOS iOS 7 iOS 8 ipad iPhone iPhone 6 IsEmailBrowser IsWebApp Italy Japan Java Javascript Jolla Kentico Keynote Kindle Kindle Fire Kindle Fire HD Leagoo Lenovo LG Location Log File Analysis LTE Lumia m.dot macOS Map Memory Meta Data Mi 4S Micromax Microsoft Miia Style Mobile Mobile Analysis Mobile Analytics Mobile Devices Mobile Marketing Mixer Module Motorola MVC4 MWC MWC 2017 MWC16 MyPhone Native Native Apps NET New Release News News Letter Nexus Nexus 6 Nexus 9 NFC NGINX Nokia Nokia 3310 Non-Mobile NVIDIA Omate On7 OnePlus 5 Opera Opera Mini Operating System Optimisation OS OSX 10.10 OTA Panasonic Patent PC Pebble Performance phablet phone PHP Poland Presentation Press Release Price Band PRIV programmatic PS4 Python QMobile QR Codes Redirection Research Reseller Responsive Images Responsive web design RESS Review reviews RIM Ringmark RTB RWD Safari Samsung Scala Screen Screen resolution Screen Size SEO Server Server-side optimisation Set Box Set Top Box Sharepoint Shark 1 SHIFT phones Sitecore Sitecore version 9 SLUSH Smart TV Smartphone Smartphones Smartwatches Snapdragon Sony Sony Xperia Spain Swedish Beers Symbian Tablet Tablets Tesco Testing Tips Top 5 TOTW TV UDS UK Umbraco Update updates US User Agent UserAgent User-Agent Vendors Version 3 VoLTE VR Wearable Web Web Apps Web content management WebKit WebMatrix White Paper Widgets Widnows WiFi Wiko Wileyfox Windows Windows Phone Xbox XBox One Xiaomi Xperia Xperia z Yosemite Z10 ZenFon 2 ZOPO ZTE