64-bit A7 CPU in iPhone 5S a “marketing gimmick,” Qualcomm exec says

October 2, 2013

    Apple A7 CPU iFixit

    A Qualcomm executive said that Apple’s 64-bit A7 processor found in the new iPhone 5S is a “marketing gimmick” at this point, giving no real benefits to the user.

    In an interview, Qualcomm’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher said that the main benefit of a 64-bit processor is “memory addressability,” but that’s “not relevant” with today’s products, especially with the iPhone 5S which has only 1GB of RAM:

    Predominantly… you need it for memory addressability beyond 4GB. That’s it. You don’t really need it for performance, and the kinds of applications that 64-bit get used in mostly are large, server-class applications.

    However, that’s not to say that Qualcomm will not make such processors in the future. The same Chandrasekher hinted that his company will make 64-bit processors, without disclosing a timeline for the release of such a CPU:

    From an engineering efficiency standpoint it just makes sense to go do that. Particularly the OS guys will want it at some point in time,” said Chandrasekher, who declined to say when the its 64-bit chip would be introduced.

    But isn’t Chandrasekher’s comment a marketing gimmick as well, considering that he’s in charge of marketing with the company? After all, Apple was first to launch a mobile device with a 64-bit CPU inside, even though this may be more of a future-proofing move from the iPhone maker rather than an useful addition to a smartphone today. Therefore such comments from the competition may have been directed to any other company that would have been first to launch a mobile device with a 64-bit processor inside.

    In addition to Apple and Qualcomm, Samsung and NVIDIA will also make 64-bit chips for future smartphone and tablet use, and there’s a rumor out there suggesting that Android 4.4 KitKat will come with support for future 64-bit CPUs.

    Comments

    • RarestName

      Everyone knows that it’s for future-proofing.

      • stitch

        futureproofing what? there is only 1gb of ram in the iphone 5s, and to utilize the 64bit cpu u need to have more ram.

        • Josh Brown

          False. It’ll mean apps compiled for 64-bit cpus will be able to run on it. It also means some computations will run a little faster (only if compiled for 64-bit). That said, 64-bit apps on iOS are a long way off. Memory addressability is another main benefit (possibly the main benefit) since you can have 64-bit pointers, but there are ways around that limitation without a 64-bit chip (although the hardware is very helpful).

          Consider a point in the future where there’s an iPhone with 8GB of RAM and people have a genuine reason to compile for 64-bit. Those apps could theoretically run on the 5s (although they’d need to take steps to keep their memory footprint down on such devices).

          • Alex Kon

            in future IOS/Android device can even play playstation 3 games. @@

          • drake

            I doubt it.
            I believe iphone will lost market pretty fast in couple next years, before they even have chance to use 8gb RAM.

          • Ben Bauer

            Any smart developer knows that 64 bit apps on 1 gig of ram is not good. Even if it were the standard 2 gigs on board it would not be bad. If anything, the iPhone 5S stands as a forewarning that 64 bit will eventually be necessary but there is no way on earth that you could run legitimate 64 bit apps on the 5S.

        • David Dancy

          Well. Download some more then:

          http://downloadmoreram.com

          Ha!

      • Edward

        Except Qualcomm, apparently…

    • Mozaik

      Qualcom also said octa is gimmick , so. i think so qualcom is hurt because a7 triumps its s800.

      • John Kiser

        The A7 barely beats the Snapdragon 800 (it beats it by 1 or 2 fps where it does beat it) and the only thing that even really benefitted so far has been browsing Qualcomm likely has a 64 bit chip in the pipeline for next year that they haven’t announced yet since that is the logical step for everyone to go with.

        • Siddharth Shukla

          Benchmarks don’t matter, however obviously Apple will have better scores because of such a low resolution and screen size compared to competitors with S800 chips. Both are gimmicks though.

          • Mozaik

            those are 1080p screen test my friend. a7 triumphs s800.

        • Mozaik

          note 3 and g2 both use s800 are triumph by a7 in gpu and cpu.

        • Stu08

          Maybe you should do some reading on the chip results as samsung are putting cheats when you run a benchmark app its all over the internet.

          • John Kiser

            Maybe you should ask where I got benchmarks from? Maybe just maybe I am referencing the Neuxs 5 prelim benchmarks from leaks which if you yourself bothered reading would note that the Nexus line doesn’t cheat in any benchmark listed

    • Josh Brown

      Marketing gimmick? not really. Will users see a difference (noticable or not)? not really. It’s a necessary step and we may as well do it now, but it’s not a bottleneck yet. In a couple years it could be, and having legacy devices already switched over will be nice, but by the time we reach that point the 5s will likely be in the same boat the 4 is now.

    • Jon E

      How about abbreviating the article to Cr”Apple is a marketing gimmick”

      • CPVideoMaker101

        Just leave other platform users alone. You like android. I like both. No biggy, right? Bother platforms are great for any average user. I don’t understand this irrational hate.

        • mobilemann

          omg, you use a different brand then me, that MAKES ME SUPERIOR ZOMG LOL ROFLAMO.

          ^that’s all i see with that bullshit. it’s so old. If you want to impress me, tell me what you’ve done with it, like anyone gives a fuck what phone you bought.

          tell me about how you integrate it into your systems at your house. Don’t show me a fucking screen you downloaded and setup from mycolorscreen and expect geek cred.

          • CPVideoMaker101

            Did you even understand what I said? I said that both systems are great. They are just enough for an average user. Seriously, different people have different needs. Don’t you understand that? I didn’t ask for much. When I said “I don’t understand this irrational hate.” I meant all users who hate other platforms. Like WIndows Phone, Blackberry, Symbian, Generic Java, Android, iOS, etc hating on each other. I don’t simply understand what you’re trying to achieve with your comment.

            • mobilemann

              Hey man, I was agreeing with you so you know lol,

              I did go off on a tangent however.

            • CPVideoMaker101

              It was too harsh of a reply, “omg, you use a different brand then me, that MAKES ME SUPERIOR ZOMG LOL ROFLAMO.””that’s all i see with that bullshit. it’s so old”.

            • mobilemann

              That was me imitating your typical response from here. My apologies if I wasn’t clear

            • CPVideoMaker101

              that’s not what I was trying to say.

    • Rushan

      “Exynos Octa is a PR stunt” also said by this guy

      • Alex Marica

        And he was right …

      • drake

        his comment is a marketing gimmick as well

      • Fred 忍び

        Both the Octacore and 64-bit processors are marketing gimmicks.

      • Ben Bauer

        It is; they are trying to steal Apple’s thunder. In the end, though, there was just far too much buzz around the 5S for anybody to care.

    • gilbert vargas

      I’m a Android fan no doubt but to call the A7 a marketing gimmick is just foolish. The processor has amazing performance and that is fact.

      • gmx

        they did not say the a7 is a gimmick just that the 64 element is. The chip is better and faster then the a6 no one question that. some even said that as a point the chip is better for other reasons not the 64bit part.

      • John Kiser

        The 64 bit element at the moment is entirely marketing. Apple should of focused on the switch over to the ARMv8 architecture vs the ARMv7 architecture everyone else is using at the moment. That “amazing” (it’s not that much better than the s800 or tegra 4 outside of browser benches) performance as it were is almost entirely from the leap to ARMv8 vs ARMv7 and THAT makes a big difference. Next year almost everyone will likely make a jump up to 64 bit and we’ll likely see phones implement at least 3 – 4 gb of ram. (hard to say if next years iphone (assuming they release one) as apple doesn’t have a habit of making large hardware jumps really, it would do them well to jump up to 3 – 4 gb though at least)

    • John-Phillip Saayman

      I’m sorry I agree. Most of the guys points are valid. And I think the 5s just ran out of other useful ideas so they popped that in there. I don’t think the iPhone 5 had any lag issues so a processor upgrade is basically useless.

      • Gary

        I guess the high end Android phones don’t need anymore processor upgrades then. May they stay at 32 bit.

        • John-Phillip Saayman

          Uh no, for that you can refer to the article. Android is at 3 gig RAM which means pretty soon with all it’s features it may need 64 bit. As far as I know the iPhone still has 1 gb ram. So back to the original point of it being useless.

          • Gary

            You need a 64 bit processor to get developer start making 64 bit apps. You don’t wait until you get 4 gb ram. It’s not difficult to put 4 gb ram in a phone, everybody can do it, just that it’s bad for the battery.

    • Paul Taylor

      Well they’re future-proofing it, I guess. No doubt there is kernel-level code that is benefiting from the A7, or will do in the future – by which time it will be tried and tested.

      • John Kiser

        Future proofing typically means having the upgrade space on that device for the future…. Aside from getting the tools out to compile apps to 64 bit there is no real future proofing here.

    • Balraj

      Hmmmm….stupid statements

    • Anders CT

      It’s not a marketing gimmick. You need to have 64 bit out there well before you hit the 4 Gb ceiling, in order for your software-stack (the apps in the app-store) to migrate to 64 bit in a timely fashion. This is especially true for iOS that does not have a virtual machine + JIT-compiler combo. And Quad-core , or even octo-core, are not marketing gimmicks either.

      • Anders CT

        But releasing a 700 dollar phone with 1 Gb Ram and a 1136 x 640 resolution screen is pretty much a marketing gimmick. A extremely succesful one.

        • drake

          hahahaa.. lol, best comment of the day sir, you make my day :D

      • Kevin

        Ask the random person in the street (with a slight bit of tech knowledge – not a lot thou or wont work) and they will believe the A7 chip is faster due to it having a 64 bit processor. Thats because thats how apple have marketed it… which is the gimmick

    • Mochammad Santaka

      I agree; the 64 bit is a gimmick. If the A7 is faster, it is not because it’s 64-bit, but because it is a better processor. Even Inifinity Blade 3 when launched initially was a 32-bit game.

      For Android to release a 64 bit next year (Say on the Note 4 whom, if it follows trend) has 4 gig of memory, then that might make sense. But for a platform that this year only has 1 gig of ram, even with an increment of a gig a year, it will only make sense in 3 years.

      • http://petecoop.co.uk/ petecoop

        The A7 is faster not because of the 64-bit but because of the ARMv8 architecture that comes with the 64-bit processor. ARMv8 has a completely new instruction set which improves performance while simultaneously using less power. Read more here: http://daringfireball.net/2013/09/the_iphone_5s_and_5c for an in depth review

        • mobilemann

          so what you’re saying is going 64 bit, with the new instruction sets, and expanded registers speeds things up.

          that’s what apple said.

      • Ben Bauer

        Even 2 gigs of ram would be better, if for nothing else multitasking. If there were and android flagship with just 1 gig of ram, an 8 megapixel camera, and a 4 inch display, nobody would buy it.

      • cyabud

        You are correct that the A7 is a better SoC all round but moving to ARM64 also has its advantages, even in a phone with 1GB of RAM. Mike Ash has a great blog post about those advantages: http://www.mikeash.com/pyblog/friday-qa-2013-09-27-arm64-and-you.html

    • EvenInTheDarkestHour

      LOL! To a Qualcomm, all other chips are “marketing gimmicks” They are consistent with their “Until/unless WE build it, you don’t need it” philosophy.

      • tomn1ce

        That’s pretty much apple’s way of thinking…

        • mobilemann

          it’s called marketing.

          unless you believe everything these companies say, Then that makes you an idiot.

          Freaking out angrily online over marketing makes you a fanboy.

    • Rijoenpial

      In a word, Apple just put it there to be the first one, period! No usefulness, no need to, just to pathetically try to hide the fact that they are not innovators anymore! They are just following the trend in everything else, and far behind in some of them, and this is they desperate attempt at introducing something that will never come to fruition in this 5s or even the 6…! 1 GB of RAM for a technology that was introduced in PCs to increase from 2GB onwards, is a disgraceful marketing ploy that only the ‘technologically challenged’ (aka Apple fans) will believe at face value! This latest marketing ploy is added to the Retina one (we all know that the human eye can actually see until 447 ppi and clearly we can see pixels in the iPhone and iPad display)… Apple is pure marketing, nothing more! The screen size is clearly not enough anymore, despite what they say… Also, where is it written that a phone has to be handled with one hand?! That is ridiculous, especially for a tiny phone that needs to be handled with two hands anyway for movie watching! Like I said, pathetic! So, yeah, the Qualcomm exec just said what many tech-versed guys, who are not Apple whitewashers, have already said… Moving on… Cheers

      • flamewave000

        I agree with you on quite a bit, but I just wanted to clarify that the 32-bit processor is capable of handling up to 4GB of memory. An unsigned 32 bit integer in it’s nature can hold a value from 0-4294967295, which is exactly equivalent to 4 Giga Bytes (4294967296 bytes) given that ’0′ is associated with the first Byte in memory. 64-bit is only required if you want to go even just 1 byte or more over 4GB.

        • David Heyden

          no it’s not dude do some research, remember pc’s or is that something you don’t use

      • mobilemann

        the only thing that’s pathetic here, is how insecure fanboys get over apple having anything first.

        64bit has quite a few benefits beyond the 4gb barrier. you could google search it, but why find out actual information on it when you get get together and bash a company.

        idiot.

        • Iliyan Conev

          Mate is not that Apple getting it first. The question is why try selling and laying your customers, similar as to painting my old car with new color and setting up the clock to 0 miles in it. The idea with the different colors is stolen from Nokia. The idea of 64 bit processor is gimmick. I don’t see a reason to have 64 bit on your mobile, no flexible OS at the moment to serves the purpose using only one device at work and on the road. Like Ubuntu is keep laying the society for webtop OS that will replace the PC and the mobile in the future. Apple has never been an innovating company. They always still other companies ideas, patented them and twist the reality so everyone believes is their own creation. 700$ for a phone that doesn’t do any different then the legacy no way. The IOS 7 imitates and copy many of the Android interface functions. So long Apple

          • mobilemann

            I get it. You’re a fanboy

      • Fox Ray

        First of all, doesn’t every company add features and new hardware to be the first one? ^^ You blap allot about the fact that the 64bit is useless but than you go on blapping that it only contains 1GB of RAM. So why would they need to add something that it clearly doesn’t need? That’s contradiction dude ^^

        If I had to compare your analogy to cars you are actually saying that a car with a brand new engine that does things more efficient and uses x amount of fuel is worse than a big car with a much bigger engine and consumes 4 times the amount of fuel to be in fact slower than the first car. ^^

        While it is true that under some circumstances the eye can indeed see more than 326PPI it is unlikely to happen under normal circumstances. Unless you operate your phone at 2 inches from your eyes, if that is the case you might have bigger problems. So yes every company that screams higher PPI is just a marketing gimmick.

        Handling a phone with one hand is been something we are doing for nearly 2 decades, it is not that its written that it has to be done that way. Now you are just making up remarks to justify the fact that some Android phone are perhaps to big to still be called a phone, maybe calling it a Tablet with phone functionality would be better. ^^

        Its weird how you can see all the marketing ploys from Apple but fail so hard to see the others ^^

    • gmx

      Why does no one acknowledge the real issue is not that it is 64 but that apple made a huge deal about it. I mean nothing wrong with future proofing but just don’t brag it up that customers need it and will see a difference cause they don’t and they won’t. My real issue is how people eat everything apple says as new, fresh, and innovative. When nothing is original and new, they copy others a year or more later. Guess what Motorola had a finger print scanner back in 2011. Slow motion camera S4 has it…

    • Groud Frank

      I guess to some extent it is a gimmick. The fact is that most apps aren’t optimised for 64 bit architecture and people will see little to no improvement in performance until optimisation happens. I think it is a necessary step in the evolution of technology. The current 32 bit systems can only accommodate a maximum of 4 GB RAM. I think 3 years from now 64 bit processors, 64 bit optimised software and phones with 6 GB RAM will be the norm.

    • abazigal

      I am reminded of the fox who didn’t get the grapes and thus claimed they were sour.

      First off, Anandtech has done a study of the 64-bit processor in IOS and found it improves performance by about 10%.

      Next is the obvious move to futureproof its devices. Given the iphone’s current trend of doubling ram every 2 years, we can expect to see ipads with 4gb of ram in 2015 and iphones with 4gb ram in 2016. By this time, most, if not all apps would be compiled for 64-bit, majority of consumers would be using the 5s at least, and Apple can then transition over to 64-bit seamlessly and effortlessly, while keeping the inconvenience to consumers at a minimum.

      In this context, it makes sense to drum up interest in 64-bit computing so its app developers will start coding for it.

      This is a feat which takes full advantage of Apple’s tight control over its own hardware and software, and one which I feel Android will be hard-pressed to replicate. For one, Google has to first update its OS for 64-bit. Then OEMs have to start supporting it, and the update also has to somehow find its way into the hands of existing consumers.

      App developers also need incentive to port their apps over to 64-bit. Looking at the current trend, only a small handful of bigger phone manufacturers (like Samsung) would jump on the bandwagon in the near foreseeable future.

      If Android were to transition over to 64-bit, I foresee many years of chaos and confusion. Especially if Samsung does get suckered into trying to adopt 64-bit computing before it is ready, in a classic “Monkey see, Monkey do, but Monkey doesn’t know what it is doing” scenario.

      • KevinM2k

        Im sure the A7 chip is faster, but its not due to it being 64bit. Yes app devs will start to change apps so in future there is a seemless switch, thats a fair point. But right now…. the 64 bit architecture doesn’t make a slight bit of a different regarding performance – making what they say a marketing gimmick!

        • Sean Karpa

          Wrong…. Please read the article below before putting nonsense around on the internet….at least unsupported. Here are some people MUCH more qualified than yourself:

          “Converting to 64-bit offers a performance improvement on the order of 10 to 20 percent,” said Kevin Krewell, senior editor of Microprocessor Report”

          “The 64-bit A7 isn’t just a marketing stunt. It delivers real performance benefits for apps right now. Apple builds further on those benefits by converting all of iOS 7 to 64-bit for the iPhone 5S – and for any future 64-bit devices (cough iPad 5 cough) that come along. That means iOS 7 – along with core apps like Safari, Mail, Photos, Maps, and Siri – all wring the most benefits from 64-bit performance, and some of those components improve performance for third-party apps as well”

          Source: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/iphone-5s-64-bit-a7-processor/

      • Nitin Gaba

        The reason Android (and in that case Samsung) will have 64-bit for it’s next generation of smartphones has NOTHING to do with Apple but has everything to do with ARMs new A-50 chip series. Those chips (announced over a year before the iPhone) will be 64-bit. Samsung will support 64-bit in it’s Exynos 6 chips because of that reason and not because of Apple. That is the same reason other manufacturers that use ARM chips will be supporting 64-bit.
        The second reason is that Android actually needs it compared to the iPhone. The iPhone 5S has 1gb of RAM, the Galaxy Note 3 has 3gb of RAM. That means the Galaxy S5 will have either 3gb or 4gb of RAM and the Galaxy Note 4 will most likely have at least 4gb of RAM. The maximum support on 32-bit is 4gb of RAM. The HTC One and LG G2 have 2gb of RAM and there’s a good chance their next generation models will feature 3gb of RAM. Which means starting in about 6 months to 2 years most Android flagship phones will have more than 4gb of RAM thus needing 64-bit support. Implementing 64-bit now also makes complete sense that way because then that gives developers a year to start using 64-bit. Apple will not be getting to 4gb of RAM anytime soon considering they’re only at 1GB right now. Although the iPad 5 is rumored to have 2gb of RAM that still puts them very far away from 4gb. This is a minimum of 2 years before the iPad needs 64-bit whereas Android could need it in 6 months with the S5 possibly having 4gb of RAM and a year at most with the Note 4 almost guaranteed to have at least 4gb of RAM.

        • John-Phillip Saayman

          This is what I was saying but some people got their panties in a twist.

    • http://www.mahadera.com/ Jayson Tamayo

      apple wants to be the first to release a phone with 64-bit processor.

    • George Av

      I’ll only believe in 64bit when android phones have 8GB ram :P

    • foobie

      64 bit is not a gimmick if you use the additional bits to *store other data*. A 64 bit representation of a 32 bit integer can also have 19 bits of reference count and 12 bits of isa (pointer to object type) in the same 64 bit word, making for 2x faster object creation/destruction.

      http://www.mikeash.com/pyblog/friday-qa-2013-09-27-arm64-and-you.html

    • Justin Kos

      its the natural evolution of technology, eventually 32bit will be phased out, they are future profing their devices and at the same time saying “zomgs 64 > 32″

    • DVG

      Soon they will also wear same shoe of 64-bit, for marketing gimmicks. in addition to this motion senser, etc

    • DVG

      Quad core or octa core also is marketing gimmicks, unless it will supported by the OS for parallel operation. Peoples thinks these are more power full, like four cylinder or 6-/8 cylinder vehicles, Most of time only one processor is enough for most of application, unless like gaming.

      • hoggleboggle

        On phones the biggest advantage of multiple cores really only lies with multitasking which Android fully supports. Otherwise there is little need for it.

    • Josh

      People are so hung up on hardware all of the time. Its just a numbers game, just like money. It’s like saying a poor person couldn’t match up to a wealthy person in a foot race. To me, the software is a very important part, the less resources the software needs to run, the better it is, and ultimately more impressive to me than a piece of hardware that has (x) gigs of ram etc.

    • raju

      64-bit

    • Ben Bauer

      When the say the 64 bit chip if a marketing gimmick, they are absolutely right.. BUT: they are copying it which totally destroys their whole argument. I just don’t understand why all the android OEMs choose to copy Apple’s gimmicks, like the fingerprint scanner and siri. Android and iOS just don’t have to worry about losing customers to each other, primarily because they gear towards different consumers. There will always be Android because there will always be spec and feature hunters, and there will always be an iPhone because some people just don’t want to worry about that stuff and want a simpler (not easier) overall experience. Honestly Android should not feel threatened at all much like the iPhone doesn’t necessarily need a large display to succeed, but they choose to give Apple the label of trendsetter anyway.

      • Smart-ish monkey

        Wait wait wait… you’re trying to make us believe Apple actually came up with the fingerprint scanner all by itself? I think not. Motorola had that in 2011. So if anything they’re copying Motorola, which is an Android OEM. And voice assistants? Sorry but those existed for a while now, Apple didn’t “invent” it either…

    • Smart-ish monkey

      I don’t understand how using 64bit architecture in the iPhone 5s is “future-proofing” in any way. It has 1gb of ram, and ALWAYS WILL. It’s in no way future proof and crapple will drop support for it as soon as the next version comes around. Someone explain how it’s future-proofing this device?

    • kbcampbo

      I dont think going 64 bit is a marketing scheme, its connecting all of their devices by them all running compatible operating systems. All of apples new computers os’s run only 64bit, why would they continue to make anything that still runs 32 bit even if it doesn’t currently make a difference to that specific device. Theyre thinking ahead, doesnt bother me.

    • John-Phillip Saayman

      Why are we even getting into a big argument about 64 bit.

    • Leonardo

      very very excited

      paket bb smartfren

    • Tanner Hoyt

      If Samsung or another manufacturer had done it first, then people would be like “ZOMG ios is still using 32 bit? LULZ Android FTW”.

      People need to stop having double standards. Apple did an amazing job on their 64-bit chip. Qualcomm just can’t take being beaten well. They’re sore losers.

    • abazigal

      I will tell you what’s gimmicky. Quad-core processors that run slower than a dual-core processor with a lower clock speed.

    • varase

      He’s probably embarrassed as hell that a phone vendor designed their own custom cores (Cyclone) and with a dual core 1.3 ghz SoC beat the crap out of his company’s quad-cores, and also beat his supposed chip design house to the ARMv8 punch.

      Hell, not only did they beat them to the punch but they actually have production chips, an OS with frameworks, first party apps, and customer-ready phones – final end-products in production in the millions which support both 32 and 64 bit apps. Anyone have any idea how much lead-time you’d need for all that?

      Over the last decade, a lot of cruft has built up in the 32 bit Instruction Set Architecture, and the 64 bit ISA of the ARMv8 optimizes the instruction set and doubles the number of general purpose and floating point registers, and generally improves throughput in the processor.

    • gogoboy

      If it is as he said, why bother to plan producing 64 bit processor to compete instead of stay on course at 32 bits with focus on higher clock speed? I think he is a gimmick himself.

    • SContrerasMer

      May i correct you but Apple Never makes their own CPUs, the A7 chip is made by Samsung. as well as the A6, A5 and A4

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