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Apple A7 64-bit chip named marketing gimmick by Qualcomm executive

Sam Loveridge

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Apple A7 64-bit processor
Apple A7 64-bit processor

Qualcomm believes Apple’s new A7 chip is a merely a “marketing gimmick” that offers little true value for the average consumer.

One of the main innovations of the iPhone 5S, Qualcomm has dismissed the new 64-bit A7 processor inside the iPhone 5S as nothing more than a marketing scam.

“I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There’s zero benefit a consumer gets from that,” said Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm’s Senior Vice President and CMO. “You don’t really need [a 64-bit chip] for performance, and the application that 64-bit gets used in mostly are large, server-class applications.”

A 64-bit processor is used to unlock the use of more RAM, usually beyond 4GB. This isn’t applicable for the iPhone 5S as it only has 1GB of RAM.

However, despite Chandrasekher’s beliefs, Qualcomm will still be making its own 64-bit processor at an unspecified point in the future.

“From an engineering efficiency point it just makes sense to go do that. Particularly the OS guys will want it at some point in time,” he added.

Apple introduced several new features with the iPhone 5S, including the M7 “coprocessor” for measuring motion data from the compass, gyroscope and accelerometer. The M7 takes on some of the processing grunt to save battery power.

The iSight camera has also been updated in the iPhone 5S, offering users a larger sensor, larger aperture, True Tone flash, continuous burst mode, auto image stabilisation and other new features.

Running iOS 7, the iPhone 5S also packs a new Touch ID fingerprint scanner to make unlocking the smartphone a breeze and making it easier to spend money in iTunes.

The iPhone 5S is available now from £549 SIM-free in silver, space grey or gold.

Next, read: What is 64-bit? iPhone 5S A7 chip explained

Via: PocketNow

HaroldCallahan

October 3, 2013, 4:29 am

Sour grapes from a wannabe competitor who can't keep up with the pace. I write low-level system libraries for mobile phones as part of my job. I can tell you that we most definitely do need the speed. 64-bit ARM not only has wider registers, it has more registers. Those extra registers help a lot in speeding up day-to-day usage of the phone. Right now, there's no immediate benefit, since no software supports the new chip. But that will change fast. The new chip impacts everything that users run. Users will notice.

If Apple didn't put this chip out right now, we'd still be waiting. Apple absolutely made the right decision here.

HaroldCallahan

October 3, 2013, 3:22 pm

I work in security engineering. 64-bit crypto operations are literally four times faster. It's much greater than the 10-20% difference you suggest. This is a huge deal in the enterprise market. Multi-core processing doesn't make up the difference, because these operations are hard to parallelize on client devices.

Nobody that I know uses their phones for 3d rendering, which in any case is more constrained by GPU than CPU. But lots of companies care about security.

HaroldCallahan

October 4, 2013, 1:17 pm

Dude, I know exactly what I'm talking about. I write the freaking assembly code by hand. The hardware acceleration is for symmetric-key cryptography functions. Those functions are much, much more than four times faster. I'm talking about the public-key cryptography functions, which are not hardware accelerated, and thus "only" see a 4x speedup. 64-bit ARM has twice the number of SIMD registers. Yes, they're the same size each, but there are twice as many registers available. This is KILLER for non-hardware accelerated crypto applications.

People do spend their days encrypting and decrypting on a phone. That's exactly what a VPN does, and VPN is a critical component in any enterprise deployment.

Alanp

October 4, 2013, 7:51 pm

Unfortunately the benchmarks don't bear you out, take a look at Arstechnica, in 64 bit mode even on multicore tests the a7 beats a 2.3 ghz quad core snapdragon, on single core benchmarks its miles quicker. The funny thing is the easy option for Apple would have been to do a quad core swift cpu, they opted for the harder engineering task so I really don't get why you think this is a PR exercise. It is truly remarkable for a 1.3ghz dual core to beat a 2.3ghz quad core, probably that last time such a jump in efficiency occurred was when Intel got rid of the Pentium 4.

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