With its flagship products and technologies, Apple has been known to set the benchmark which rest of the industry follows. They did it again with the launch of new iPhone 5S featuring a 64-bit architecture Chipset called A7. While Apple claims A7 chip to be the fastest processor around, critics lamented terming it more of a marketing gimmick. We’ll take a closure look at it.
“There’s fast. And then there’s A7 fast”, this is the tag line Apple used to advertise their new processor, cooool huh!! The A7 processor chip is part of the recently released newest flagship phone of the company, the iPhone 5S. The new A7 processor has a 64-bit architecture. This is the first time in the history of mobile computing that any mobile will feature a 64-bit processor. So far, it was available only on desktops and laptops. For any non-techie out there, just look at the numbers, 64-bit is better than 32-bit. The higher, the better, isn’t it J
A higher bit processor means applications will be able to run more simultaneous parallel threads resulting into improved performance and speed. While you might not notice any difference in day to day mobile task, the increased processing power will come handy while playing games with lot of graphics. The new A7 processor is claimed to be 2X faster than its predecessor A6 chip. A7 features ARMv8-based multi-core CPU and an integrated graphics processing unit (GPU) which supports OpenGL ES version 3.0 to deliver a detailed graphics and complex visuals effects. Which means visuals in games will look more real and livelier. A7 processor is also rumoured to have 1 GB of “standard LPDDR3-1333 RAM” inbuilt into it. We’ll know the exact details only when it’s actually launched. The good thing is that Apple’s new operating system iOS 7 is designed take advantage of the improved power provided by A7 chip. The camera app gets better with faster autofocus, faster photo capture and higher frame rates.
Critics are saying that the new A7 processor to be actually effective will require around 4GB of RAM. Without that much of RAM, this processor can never be utilized to it’s fullest. Another set of people talking about the limited availability of Apps. All the current mobile applications in market are 32-bit compliant and it’ll take developers time to release a 64-bit compatible version for their app. Till that time, users may have to manage with a 32-bit compatible app on a 64-bit device, which may lead to a poor user experience.
The dilemma for iOS Application developers
While we talked about desktops and laptops, let me remind you that majority of windows user on laptops/desktops uses a 32-bit operating system. 64-bit version of operating system is used mostly by power users who has more processor intensive jobs to do. Given the fact that majority of the users are on 32-bit operating system, most of the applications are designed for 32-bit operating system and only few popular applications are designed for both 32-bit and 64-bit version. Now, if you are wondering why don’t developers just develop application compatible for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The answer is simple; it takes resources, time and money to do so which leaves developers in a dilemma whether to design their Apps for both the versions.
With Apple launching the first mobile device with 64-bit architecture chip, this dilemma has now come to mobile apps developers too. iPhone Apps development is a huge market. While all the famous app developers will have to update their apps to be fully compatible with new 64-bit iPhone 5S, they still need to maintain and update the older 32-bit compatible apps for older devices. It adds to an increased cost to them.
What to expect from iOS7 and A7 combination?
Hardware specs alone can be misleading sometimes. It’s the optimum amalgamation of hardware, software and tweaking that result into the ultimate performance. The guys at Apple have been known to deliver an excellent user experience exceeding the underlying hardware specifications. Apple achieves this sort of performance because of iOS, which is one of the most robust and optimized operating system out there. We expect the trend to continue and hope it’ll get better with the combination of iOS7 and A7 chip in iPhone 5S.