As seen in the iPhone 5s, Apple’s new A7 chip is the world’s first 64-bit ARM-based chip… but it’s not Apple’s first quad-core chip. Instead, the A7 is dual-core in a sea of Android competitors boasting 32-bit quad-core processors.
The revelation that the A7 chip is still dual-core comes from chip review site Anandtech, who have noted that tools used to count cores are only returning two.
That will be a surprise to many, since so many Android phones boast quad-core configurations. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. According to Anand, speaking to CNET:
“The quad-core card was kind of forced,” Anand said. “It’s definitely not the only way to arrive at the ideal performance-power for a phone.”
Staying dual-core while beefing up the chip in other important ways is a typical Apple move, which marches to the beat of its own drum. Remaining dual-core allows Apple to save power, while a shift to 64-bit allows Apple to improve performance, especially for apps programmed to take advantage of it.
“The dual-core A7 is now the fastest [system-on-a-chip] we’ve tested under SunSpider, even outpacing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 and ARM’s Cortex A15,” wrote Anand.