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March 17, 2016

CDNs Finding iPhone 6 & 6 Plus Tougher to Work With for Image Delivery

Apple's latest iPhone entrant has been on the market for several months, and it's proving a major issue for one group: content delivery networks (CDNs). While iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ have been huge sellers by any scale, it's also making it tougher to deliver images to users, forcing many CDNs to reconsider how content is provided.

The main issue for CDNs is the display; the high resolution is making it difficult to deliver images that both look good on the device and appear sufficiently rapidly to not annoy the user. This wouldn't be so difficult by itself, but doing all this within the confines of a 4G or even 3G connection can be a nightmare.

That's forcing many CDNs to look more closely at sites using Responsive Web Design, a measure that allows the site to automatically adjust in order to fit the dimensions and resolution of the display involved. Given that there are now almost a dozen different Apple device screen sizes on hand at this point—not to mention Android devices—that kind of modification is likely welcome for a lot of CDNs out there. It's never been exactly easy to generate these images within the confines of the mobile network, but throwing in the multiple device classes operating on those networks and it only makes a bad situation worse.

We all want content. Content is the thing that makes the Internet worthwhile, whether it's a TED talk on the nature of the universe or a video of a cat who just will not take a bath. Making that content appear on our devices would be simple, if there were only a few devices. The steadily growing number of devices, however, makes that difficult, and it's only worse when the issue of resolutions steps in. Though it's not hard to wonder about the impact of another key development; 5G access. While this only has so much impact as commercial release isn't set to emerge for another four years or so, 5G is poised to give us more bandwidth than ever. Some have even wondered if we finally have a reasonable answer to the “rural connectivity” problem because of it, and if that's the case, will we really have a problem presenting high-resolution images in rapid fashion to mobile device users, regardless of whether we're using Responsive Web Design technology or not?

While 5G may not be the grand solution for CDNs looking for a better way to get images to users—especially since there's still so long until 5G rolls out—it may well ultimately help. Until then, Responsive Web Design systems are stepping in and giving CDNs the capability that's needed right now, and the one that keeps that valuable content rolling. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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