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

October 2, 2013
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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.

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