iPhone 5S' 64-bit A7 Chip Is a Gimmick Says Qualcomm

By Gerald Lynch on at

Apple's "S" class iPhone upgrades are usually just stepping stones onto better things for the numbered entries into the line, and this year's 5S handset was no different, adding a fingerprint sensor to a design more or less the same as the iPhone 5. Its one truly notable upgrade? The promise of its 2x faster 64-bit A7 chip, which has now been slammed by Qualcomm as being just a gimmick.

"I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that," said Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm's senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

"A benefit of 64-bit is more memory addressability, but that is not relevant in today's smartphones or tablets. The iPhone 5S has only 1GB of DRAM. 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."

Now, there's no denying the A7 is fast (the 5S is easily the most responsive iPhone I've played with), and there's a case of the pot calling the kettle black here with Qualcomm working on its own 64-bit chip for use in mobile applications. But at least Qualcomm is being upfront and is promoting the benefits of its 64-bit chip from an engineering efficiency stand point. Apple is simply playing the numbers game here, and understandably; to the layman, a 64-bit processor trumps a 32-bit one, even if the real world user benefits are marginal. If that's enough to sell another year's worth of phones, who can blame them? [Tech World]