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iPhone 5S Packs Apple A7 Chip: World's First 64-bit Phone

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 48 comments

Apple ups processing power in the iPhone 5S in a big way.

Apple just revealed the A7 chip that'll be inside each iPhone 5S device, which the company is boasting is the world's first 64-bit smartphone.

Among the claims are a 64-bit desktop-class architecture, modern instruction set, twice the number of general purpose and floating point registers. All of that comes to over 1 billion transistors packed in a 102mm2 die.

Apple also said that iOS 7 is completely reengineered for 64-bit with native kernel, libraries and drivers. All the built-in apps are reengineered, and developers will see a seamless transition.

The A7 chip is making some big performance claims over the A6. Apple says the A7 in the iPhone 5S is twice as fast as the A6 in the iPhone 5 and 5C.

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  • 19 Hide
    CaedenV , September 10, 2013 11:14 AM
    Oh no... now we have to explain what 64bit means for an OS again.

    Will the device ever run more than 4GB of ram? Will it be executing instructions which require more than 32bits of accuracy? Well then you get a minor performance boost for a few 32bit instructions which can be combined into a single 64bit instruction, but are otherwise adding bloat to the OS.

    Overall, probably a good thing in the long run because there will be a day when phones DO have 4+GB of ram, but it is not going to be the magic bullet that Apple will no doubt market it as.
  • 15 Hide
    captainnemojr , September 10, 2013 11:08 AM
    Doesn't Apple always claim the new chips are 2X faster than the old chips anyway?
  • 11 Hide
    captainnemojr , September 10, 2013 11:14 AM
    Is Tom's ever going to fix this double/triple posting bug?
Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    captainnemojr , September 10, 2013 11:08 AM
    Doesn't Apple always claim the new chips are 2X faster than the old chips anyway?
  • 1 Hide
    kenyee , September 10, 2013 11:12 AM
    64-bit also makes apps 30% larger...at least that's what we found w/ x86 chips.

    Arm v8 (64-bit) has been around for a while...only at the server level...neat that Apple managed to get this into their custom chip.
  • -4 Hide
    captainnemojr , September 10, 2013 11:13 AM
    Double post.
  • 19 Hide
    CaedenV , September 10, 2013 11:14 AM
    Oh no... now we have to explain what 64bit means for an OS again.

    Will the device ever run more than 4GB of ram? Will it be executing instructions which require more than 32bits of accuracy? Well then you get a minor performance boost for a few 32bit instructions which can be combined into a single 64bit instruction, but are otherwise adding bloat to the OS.

    Overall, probably a good thing in the long run because there will be a day when phones DO have 4+GB of ram, but it is not going to be the magic bullet that Apple will no doubt market it as.
  • 11 Hide
    captainnemojr , September 10, 2013 11:14 AM
    Is Tom's ever going to fix this double/triple posting bug?
  • -5 Hide
    captainnemojr , September 10, 2013 11:23 AM
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , September 10, 2013 11:29 AM
    So...this 64-bit business. Does it have any immediate impact for the current hardware platform? Anyhoo, I don't much like Apple, but it does seem pretty forward-looking, so I respect them for that.

    The fingerprint scanner...hopefully it works a bit better than android's face rec--I used face rec for a long time, but it became cumbersome to only work some of the time. Curious where the fingerprint goes...iCloud?

    Well, I'm curious how the new hardware coupled with iOS 7 is going to push things. Will it mean more competition for Android (and possibly windows) platforms? Or is it just more of the same-old.

    Also, I wonder how much the introduction of the 5C is going to impact market share, or if it'll just cannibalize their current established markets, where people opt for the cheaper version vs. the standard one.
  • 0 Hide
    Honis , September 10, 2013 11:39 AM
    They made the announcement that the finger print is stored only locally.

    I'm not familiar with the standard 64bit addition. Is it the 32bit instructions with 32 more instructions added (same instructions just extended to 64bit addressing) or do the original 32bit instructions get replaced with an always 64bit equivalent and the new 32bits of instructions add new functionality.
  • 2 Hide
    MANOFKRYPTONAK , September 10, 2013 11:39 AM
    This is interesting, I wonder how well this will perform. I think its a step in the right direction, IF apple doesn't screw it up. Hopefully they wont and this becomes the new standard.
  • 0 Hide
    vmem , September 10, 2013 11:45 AM
    hmm, for once there's something exciting from apple from a pure hardware standpoint

    Hmm, the chances are slim, but I can see Apple making a bid to buy out AMD (completely or partially) for it's patent portfolio
  • -5 Hide
    gggplaya , September 10, 2013 12:14 PM
    Wow an f stop of 2.2 and a large image sensor will probably make this the best low light(indoor) camera on any smartphone.

    (Just because the nokia has 41MP doesn't means the pictures will look better, things such as lighting, color saturation etc...... Take part in making a great picture, 41MP just means you can take a crappy picture and make high resoltion crap).
  • 3 Hide
    the1kingbob , September 10, 2013 12:37 PM
    Not sure why people are taking shots at the lumia 1020's camera, it is one of the best smart phone cameras in the market. This isn't all due to the high MP, it has pretty good optics and 6 lenses to produce pretty good pictures. Also kind of funny that people are saying this will do good low light, something nokia phones have been doing for a while. I personally don't want a lumia (I own a nexus 4), but I doubt the ip5S will take better pictures.
  • -3 Hide
    cmi86 , September 10, 2013 1:16 PM
    iBull. I don't believe any of the hype about this thing, or anything apple for that fact. Drop it and then we will see it get crushed by the galaxy family like always.
  • -1 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , September 10, 2013 2:17 PM
    marketing scam. more bits = better.
  • 0 Hide
    XM Keeper , September 10, 2013 3:23 PM
    This reminds of the atari jaguar claiming it was the first 64-bit console. Apple's new advertising campaign might be "You do the math".
  • 1 Hide
    JamesSneed , September 10, 2013 3:25 PM
    Seems rather forward looking to me. If the iPhone 5s will have 2GB of memory like suspected then running a 64bit OS could give them 20 years without having to change addressability. Plus they run the ipad's on the same OS which I can see hitting 4GB rather quickly. If they were to wait and the keep the memory doubling cycle they would be hitting a 4GB wall in 2-3 years.
  • 1 Hide
    none12345 , September 10, 2013 3:30 PM
    The primary point of 64 bit over 32 bit is to allow a processor to work with more then 4 gigs of memory. Not really a necessity for phones yet. But someday, sure. It has to happen sooner or later.

    The secondary point of 64 bit is to allow it to work with larger numbers in 1 step, instead of taking multiple steps. Not really necessary at all for phones. But it has to happen sooner or later.

    There is a downside to moving to 64 bit processors tho. All pointers need to use 64 bits instead of 32 bits even if you dont need the extra precision or dont want to use >4gig of ram. That means all pointers double in memory usage. If you use native 64 bit integers instead of 32 bit ones, again you double the memory footprint.

    An application recompiled for 64 bit code will have a larger memory footprint, even if it doesnt make any use of the 64 bit instructions. 20% or 30% inst uncommon. So you must add more memory just to keep the status quo.

    The iphone5 only has 0.5 or 1 gig of memory, and moving to 64 bit on that would be suicide. If its anything less then 2 gig be worried.
  • -1 Hide
    sundragon , September 10, 2013 3:36 PM
    Quote:
    marketing scam. more bits = better.


    LOL, marketing scam until Samsung comes out with a 64-bit chip and then you'll be like: OMG, gurrrrrl!!!

    Please, at least be a little less transparent.

    Moving to 64-bits is a good thing - especially since the Sammy Note 3 has 3GB of RAM, we're gonna hit the 4GB of RAM ceiling in a year or two...

  • 0 Hide
    sundragon , September 10, 2013 3:39 PM
    Quote:
    iBull. I don't believe any of the hype about this thing, or anything apple for that fact. Drop it and then we will see it get crushed by the galaxy family like always.


    LMAO, how about figuring out what you "dropped" in your pampers, cupcake. When Sammy delivers a 64-bit chip, you're gonna be like OMG THE BESTEST.

    At least try to be somewhat transparent, we'll get 64-bit Android sometime... Wait, not with 4.4 we're not, maybe 5.0 and then it will take 15 years to roll out... LMAO

  • 0 Hide
    irish_adam , September 10, 2013 3:59 PM
    seriously sundragon did you just use the same trolling post for two seperate quotes?

    the Iphone is a closed system, yeah one day it will have 4gb of ram but what the hell is the point in adding it until then? its not like you can upgrade the ram in your iphone at a later date.

    I doubt samsung or any Android retailer will bother with a 64bit OS until the actually add 4gb of ram to something. Yeah there probably is a slight performance boost even without the added ram but i dont see it being major. It really is a gimmick
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