Apple A7 and 64bit

What an exciting week its been. With the announcement of the Iphone 5S and 5C, everyone is talking about Apples new 64-bit A7 processor. But what exactly is all the chat about?

Apple are marketing the new A7 processor as being the worlds first 64-bit mobile chip. And with Samsung claiming that their next processors will also be 64-bit surely this is the way forward?

Well yes and no. Whilst clearly a step in the right direction, this is also a bit of a marketing gimmick.

In theory a 64-bit processor is twice as fast as a 32 bit processor. The idea being that a 64-bit processor and Operating System (OS) is able to make better use of the systems RAM and processor and as such deliver much better performance. Whilst this is true in terms of desktop computing, here lies the problem in current mobile set-ups. The main reason for having a 64-bit processor and Operating System is to be able to access more than 4 GB’s of RAM – as is the limit with 32-bit processors. With the Iphone 5S only having 1 GB of RAM we are unlikely to see a massive performance increase over current high end 32-bit processors. Sure, Apple’s new A7 will be faster than the last generation of processors but it is not the leap forward Apple would have us believe. That is not to say there is no future for 64-bit processors. I see this more as Apple future-proofing and gearing itself up for future IOS devices – devices that can fully utilize a 64-bit architecture. With IOS7 being Apple’s first 64-bit OS, Apple are clearly paving the way for a new breed of I-devices.

Clearly though from a marketing point of view Samsung and others will need to be seen as keeping up with Apple. Samsung have already acknowledged this point and I’m sure other manufacturers will soon follow.

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