Apple's new A7 chip won't make iPhone faster
Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 02:09
Unlike Apple has suggested in marketing their new phone, the A7 64-bit processor on the phone won’t be faster than the previous iPhone. According to Joel Hruska from Extremetech.com, it’s being marketing the wrong way.
The recently released iPhone 5S is the first mobile phone with a 64-bit processor. Theoretically, this switch from the iPhone 5’s 32-bit processor to the iPhone 5S’s is a 64-bit is supposed to increase the iPhone 5S’s performance, but Hruska says that isn’t the case.
Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned in Apple’s keynote address that the A7 chip’s switch to 64-bit would increase performance of the iPhone 5S, especially for 64-bit apps. Hruska argues that there is no increase in performance because many apps are still in 32-bit.
“[The] advantages are only available in 64-bit mode,” Hruska said. “32-bit apps, which will constitute an overwhelming majority for the foreseeable future, can only take advantage of the 32-bit registers and operating modes.”
In essence, having a 64-bit chip on a smartphone only expands the limits on what can be done on a smartphone. For example, there won’t be a difference playing Angry Birds on the iPhone 5S because it’s code is currently 32-bit. If it were updated to have 64-bit coding, that is when there would be an actual increase in performance.
According to Hruska, there are two main advantages to having a 64-bit processor: more RAM usage and starting fresh on a new processor that won’t have the clutter of the previous one. However he claimed that the reasons aren’t practical on a smartphone.
“32-bit systems are limited to 4GB of RAM . . . [and] a 64-bit operating system allows up to 16 exabytes of memory,” Hruska said. “[But] Apple isn’t going to start shipping a phone with more than 4GB of RAM, because [it] takes a significant amount of power to initialize.”
According to Cook’s keynote address, what Apple is currently doing is blending 64 and 32-bit software on the iPhone 5S, and iOS7 in general.
Hruska said this is a good thing, but there will be no clear benefit until everything has switched over to a 64-bit system, which is “not going to happen for years yet.”
The big picture is that the 64-bit status is being used as a marketing tool, not a genuine performance boost, according to Hruska.
Article commenter “the Upload” said that the 64-bit increasing performance is “marketing BS” and that no difference will be felt “without a placebo effect.”
“For all the noted new features of the iPhone 5S, this 64-bit switch is almost entirely marketing fluff,” Hruska said. “[Performance boosts] will come from . . . the phone’s handling of 32-bit code for at least the next 6-12 months.”