When last we heard about Apple’s 64-bit aspirations, a notable CPU designer was saying that Apple couldn’t outrun Moore’s Law, and that the earliest Cupertino would manage to swing a 64-bit A7 processor was by 2014.
According to a new report by Fox News reporter Clayton Morris, though, Cupertino might have been juicing. A 64-bit A7 processor could be included in the iPhone 5S.
As pointed out in a tweet from Morris, sources are apparently telling him that the iPhone 5S’s new A7 chip is running about 31% faster than the A6. “I’m hearing it’s very fast,” he says. This speed is due to the chip’s alleged 64-bit upgrade.
It’s probably worth exercising some caution before leaping upon this report. I’d be willing to bet the iPhone 5S won’t be 64-bit.
For one, making the leap to 64-bit is not going to be easy for Apple, and to make full use of those chips will require overhauling iOS with 64-bit support. If Apple is overhauling iOS for 64-bit, we should see hints about it in the code for the iOS 7 beta, but so far, nothing like that has been found.
Here’s the other problem: no one is putting 64-bit chips in smartphones yet. Although 64-bit ARM chips are a reality, they are only being used to power servers right now.So for the iPhone 5S to have a 64-bit processor, Apple would need to leap frog the competition to market.
That doesn’t really scan. Apple tends to be more conservative about making bit technological leaps than their competitors, not more so. Consider, for example, that the A6 chip inside the iPhone 5 is only dual-core, while other smartphone makers are shipping quad-core devices.
Apple may very well be testing a 64-bit iPhone 5S, but I’d be amazed if it debuts at Apple’s September 10th event. Instead, I expect the iPhone 5S chip to be similar to what we’ve previously reported: a glorified A6X SoC, in a quad-core configuration and a higher-performance GPU. But in 2014? 64-bit all the way.
Source: Fast Company.