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7 Things you should know about the Apple A7 processor




Apple’s new A7 processor has stirred quite a commotion in the tech world and has raised a handful of questions about some of its components. In this segment, we’ll take a closer look at this 64-bit dual-core SoC and straighten out some of the misconceptions that people may have about it.

1. Apple’s 64-bit processor isn’t new, and it’s been around since last year. Although the concept behind 64-bit mobile processor has been around since late last year (when ARM announced the Cortex-A57 processor), the A7 is the first one to be integrated into a consumer-ready device (Apple iPhone 5S).

apple a7

2. A 64-bit processor is useless unless the device have 4GB or more of RAM. While it’s true that one of the more prevalent advantages of 64-bit chips over 32-bit ones is its ability to handle 4GB or above RAM, that doesn’t mean that procs like the A7 won’t fare any better if the memory drops below 4GB.

In one of their entries, Wikipedia has cited some instances where a 64-bit chip is better than 32-bit builds.

3. The A7 is faster than current 32-bit processors. Not necessarily. It’s true that a 64-bit chips are more capable handling huge chunks of data compared to 32-bit processors, but when it comes to basic tasks, the difference in speed between the two is indistinguishable. Moreover, given the right conditions, a current 32-bit chipsets can even outpace the A7 at will.

4. iOS7 won’t work on A7 because it’s 32-bit. In case you missed it, Apple did mention that iOS 7 will also be 64-bit. Nuff said.

ios7

5. Ok forget about iOS7, CURRENT 32-bit apps won’t work on the A7. I can’t blame you for being cynical about this, considering that compatibility was once an issue with older 64-bit architectures. But the same cannot be said for newer processors such as the A7.

That goes without saying that the A7, and the fact that it’s a 64-bit processor, will not have an effect on app compatibility even though it’s optimized to run 64-bit programs. And besides, it doesn’t make any sense for Apple to waste its vast apps selection over this incremental processing upgrade.

6. If compatibility isn’t really an issue, then how come Apple is asking devs to submit iOS 7 compatible apps? – Simple, Apple just wants developers to leverage the new elements that come with the A7 (OpenGL ES 3.0 support, the new M7 processor, etc.) to further enhance their apps. Better apps, means more potential switchers.

Apple M7

7. I’m not a fitness buff, thus I won’t benefit from the M7 processor. The motion-tracking capability is actually just an added feature of the M7. However, its main function is to be a front-liner for the A7, particularly when dealing with basic tasks.

Moreover, the M7 has its own API which can then be used by devs to build an app that makes use of the iPhone 5S’ array of sensors and requires less power to launch/use.

Theoretically speaking, the real reason behind Apple’s decision to switch from 32 to 64-bit processor is to make their devices future-proof, hence the “Forward Thinking” tagline. Most users won’t be able to truly appreciate these minor improvements, but as technology becomes more and more complex, a phone such as the iPhone 5S with its A7 processor should be able to handle tasks with relative ease.



This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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49 Responses

  1. gg says:

    To make a long story short, the move from 32-bit to 64-bit is currently a useless “innovation”.

    • jcnjcjcnjc says:

      I agree, coz apple will ask iphone users to upgrade to Iphone 6 next year.

    • ewe says:

      useless ba?

      kaya nga siguro gagayahin na naman yata ng samsung di ba, kasi useless?
      talaga naman ang dakilang imitator, useless na nga daw sabi ng nagmamarunong, gagayahin pa din! LOL!

      ebidensya ko? ayun oh..

      http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-promises-64-bit-functionality-in-next-smartphones-because-it-cant-let-Apple-have-anything-special_id47373

      click click din kahit walang time. hahaha!

    • Magelan says:

      Is that all u can squeeze frm d fatty brain of urs? Haha.
      D move to 64bit is to power up those new processing needs of their new cam and touch id. In case u missed it, read what d author post about d benefits of d cortex a57.

      @Diorarat
      d reason for not switching 2 quad core is d other article here wer d qualcom bashes d octa core of mediatek, wer in der test, most of heavy apps only utilizes 2cores even in doing some multitasking.

      I think having 2x d size of general-purpose registers and floating point is way better than havng 2 extra cores – which d qualcom says is pretty much useless, yet they are d instigators of such hype in d flagship android phones.

      Funny! Right? ;)

    • Magelan says:

      Here’s d link lazy ass.. Basa2 dn kc pag my time. If ur stil not convince by dat, check nyo nlng dn review ng lenovo ni idol kobe na intel ung procesor.

      http://www.yugatech.com/news/qualcomm-says-four-cores-are-better-than-eight/

      Bgay ko na nga dn ung link pra dna kau mhrapn, dual core lng yn pro 21k antutu benchmark.

      http://www.yugatech.com/mobile/lenovo-k900-review/

    • diorarat says:

      @magellan what you say is true to some extent. But my point is apple is supposed to make something new otherwise no one will buy the s version. Whether it would actually be useful or not just as long as it sounds better to consumers.

    • ernest says:

      @ewe
      Hindi po considered na pangongopya ang gagawin ng Samsung. I’m pretty sure matagal na nilang balak iimplement ang Cortex-A57. Hindi po technoloy ng Apple yung 64bit. Nagkataon lang na nauna ang Apple mag-implement.
      The way I see it, mukhang nagfocus muna ang Qualcomm, Samsung and Nvidia sa improvement ng multicore-A15 processors dahil halos wala namang makukuhang benefits sa 64bit kung below 4GB naman ang ram nung phone.

    • Magelan says:

      @diorarat
      To ans u, Copy paste edit ku nlng ung post ku frm d oder article.

      Kc recycled iphone5 po 2ng 5c. What hapend was they’ve orderd a lot of iphone5 components frm der suppliers, den in early 1st quarter yta eh bmba na kgad ung demand kya dey halt d assembly and production. So pra ndi maluge ung company 4 d over production of d components, dey use a cheaper plastic for the base/casing to house d actual iphone5 innards pra mbenta nla sa mbabang price.

      Den d aluminum case goes to d 5s, so fully recycled po ngyare except 4 d batt. Kya ndi rin na increase ung screen size and nstop totaly ung production ng ip5. Hehe. But i hope der next itiration of iphone would have a bigger screen size to catch up wid d likes of d people.

      D big sell 4 d iphone ryt now is d touch id, 4 most of us pinoys, its not much of a hype coz we dnt use our phone like others do. To western countries or even to singapore n hongkong, d busnes people use der fon 4 mobile banking, so dat extra security is a must 4 dem.

      Unlike 4 most of us, we use it much for selfie on ig, play hd games or candy crush, 4 fb viber we chat twitter n d likes, download n watch porn movies animes or watch on iwant tv..

      U agree?

    • diorarat says:

      @Magellen I agree. I think I said something like that sa ibang post din about the 5c being a repackaged 5s.

    • Cartoon says:

      You are correct gg in saying ‘useless innovation’. For me,32 bit is already more than enough for daily usage. Anyway you can even notice the difference if your mobile is using 32 or 64. That’s means aside from ‘useless’, it is also a ‘less use’ innovation.

  2. epol says:

    wala..parang useless nga..di bale, may iphone 6,7,8, up to 1000 pa naman.

  3. Jun says:

    From our 32-64bit port testing project, we bench our algorithms in servers and the result: 32bit still runs faster then 64bit! Until we figure out how to fully conform to 64bit we decided it’s not worth the time and effort to implement— because the result will be just as same!

    64bit = great for OS and hardware, not much for apps.

  4. diorarat says:

    What really happened at Cupertino:
    Cook: we need a better processor to sell 5s!
    Apple engineer: lets make a quad-core cpu!
    Cook: too androidy, what else?
    Apple engineer: uhmm make it 64bit?
    Cook: Sounds nice. Market it, say its better it in some ways make it vague.

    sheeps will come.

    • ewe says:

      samsung: lets copy apple again.

      gullible fandroids: OK, go!

      samsung: just wait..

      gullible fandroids: ok.

      http://pocketnow.com/2013/09/12/64-bit-samsung-smartphones

    • diorarat says:

      Apple fan: apple 64 bit is definetly better. Take my money. (reality: paid too much premium on something less than actual hardware value)

      Fandroid: well my shit is better. It’s gonna come real soon. (reality: Paid too much for hardware that’s too powerful.)

      Reality: we are all really just suckers for new tech that doesn’t really matter whether it’s apple or android or whatever.

    • Jaime says:

      Ewe(Apple fanboy): I suck Apples ass big time yummy. The plan is to defend my iPhone 4 at all cost no matter what. Operation lagroid is in effect and all my post is to destroy the lagroid sammy.

      Hoy Ewe get a freakin life apple troll.

  5. Napadaan lang... says:

    Waiting for abuzalzal’s insights… =)

    actually kahit ano naman ang i release ng apple regardless of its specs/price people will still buy it.
    kahit i pa utang pa sa CC, 2nd hand, mag skip ng meals or so… kasi nga trip nila and IOS at iba ung sinasabing “user experience” nila.

    Anyway, Lets see kung ano ang mangayayare kay Apple at sa products nila and sa tinatawag nilang innovation =)

  6. tarush says:

    OK, you should write another article when you know a lot of facts about the 64 bit processors, will you?:)

  7. jackiz says:

    im just waiting for a 4gb ram on-board of an android smartphone with a 64-bit architecture….. and that will be insanely beast ^^

  8. vino says:

    I will wait for samsung 64bit phone :)… IP5s chips was made of samsung.

  9. Late_Reaction says:

    Does 64-bit A7 provide any actual performance boost?

    medium.com/tech-talk/fb96c0d7fd4e

  10. garz says:

    Fitness apps are for noobs. Counting all the steps and calories and stuff? Nobody ain’t got time for those.

    >:)

  11. IOS gamer says:

    Mas mabilis pa rin siya kesa iPhone 5 at approx. 55 fps (graphics)

    • fandroid says:

      oo, mas mabilis, sabi ng ARM Holdings, and maymag-ari ng design ng ARM CPUs:

      The Cortex-A57 processor delivers significantly more performance than Cortex-A15 processors, at a higher level of power efficiency. The performance increase on a range of integer and memory workloads: 75% faster browsing,96.4% better SPEC benchmark, 66% faster streaming, 135% better Dhrystone benchmark, based on 32-bit code. Performance for floating point code is expected to increase even more, and general object oriented code is also expected to improve significantly when recompiled to AArch64 to fully take advantage of the architectural features of ARMv8.

  12. Mr. Curious says:

    Sorry for this noob question but

    if iOS 7 is 64 bit, then how come my friends are running it on their ip4s and ip5?

    • Name: fandroid says:

      Ang Apple A7 CPU, o ARMv8, ang capable tumakbo ng 64-bit IOS7. Sa IPhone5S preinstalled ang 64-bit IOS7 kasi sito yung may ARMv8 CPU. Ang IOS7 Over the Air (OTA) update ay 32-bit para sa mga unang model ng Iphone. Gets?

    • Mr. Curious says:

      ah okay thanks I get it =)

  13. fandroid says:

    Mr Yuga,
    Palagay ko masyadong slanted itong review na i-putdown ang achievement ng Apple. Ito ay tech blog kaya sana OS agnostic ang pagresearch sa mga bagong tech. E pinakaunang mobile 64-bit CPU tapos panay naman paninira ang labas ng review. Di ba dapat ikatuwa natin na meron na 64-bit kasi sa bandang huli lahat naman ng mobile equipment vendors ay maglalabas nyan kasi shared nila ang technology sa ARM Alliance. Ang website nga ng Anandtech (katukayo nyo) di pa naglabas ng review ng IOS7 kasi nga wala pa silang actual na celphone na maikukumpara.
    Kung gusto nating maghakaha, e di basahin natin mismo ang sabi ng ARM Holdings sa paglabas ng Cortex A-53/A-57. Galing sa kanila mismo ang benchmarking results. Di naman siguro “marketting” lang ang ipinablish nila. 2011 pa natape-out na sucessful ang ARMv8 (Cortex A-53/57) so ibig sabihin mga 2 years prior at least pa natapos ang 64-bit architecture so kasama na ang Apple sa pagdesign ng architecture dahil may license sila dito. Kaya yung sttaement na matagal ng may 64-bit at ngayon lang naglabas ang Apple ay maling analogy.
    Eto sabi ng ARM website.
    The Cortex-A53 processor is the most efficient application processor ever, delivering mainstream smartphone experience in a quarter of the power in the respective process nodes.

    The Cortex-A53 extremely power efficient ARMv8 processor is capable of supporting 32-bit ARMv7 code in AArch32 state and 64-bit code in the AArch64 execution state. It delivers more performance at higher power efficiency than the Cortex-A9 processor, and is capable of deployment as a standalone main applications processor which defines today’s high-end mobile platforms.

    The Cortex-A53 processor can be implemented individually or paired with the Cortex-A57 processor in a big.LITTLE configuration for optimum performance, scalability and energy efficiency.
    Using ARM big.LITTLE technology the Cortex-A53 processor will efficiently run your connected life. This connected life will not just be the social media, news and email updates that you receive today, but will also enable devices to be contextually aware and connect to the Internet of things. Contextual awareness is already happening in smartphones today, but the Cortex-A53 processor’s ultra-efficiency will allow your smartphone to use its sensor information, calendar, contact information and location-based services to provide relevant information.

    The Cortex-A53 processor can deliver the compute power of today’s high-end smartphone, in lowest power and area footprint, enabling all-day battery life for typical device uses, Efficiently runs legacy ARM 32-bit applications; Features cache coherent interoperability with ARM Mali family graphics processing units (GPUs) for GPU compute applications; Offers optional reliability and scalability features for high-performance enterprise applications; Connects seamlessly to ARM interconnect IP with up to 16 core configurations with more in the future.

    The Cortex-A57 processor delivers significantly more performance than Cortex-A15 processors, at a higher level of power efficiency. The performance increase on a range of integer and memory workloads: 75% faster browsing,96.4% better SPEC benchmark, 66% faster streaming, 135% better Dhrystone benchmark, based on 32-bit code. Performance for floating point code is expected to increase even more, and general object oriented code is also expected to improve significantly when recompiled to AArch64 to fully take advantage of the architectural features of ARMv8.

    • garz says:

      First of all, benchmarks are calculations only. It doesn’t necessarily apply to real-time usage. The Galaxy S3 had high benchmark results when it first came out, but why isn’t my S3 living up to those sh*t?

      The things with Apple is, they make things sound better during their keynotes. Always. The superlatives are endless. And these words from ARM are just marketing. They won’t work efficiently without the right components, like the article mentioned, RAM. Operating systems take full advantage of such architecture when they have at least four (4) gigabytes of RAM. It’s like building a gaming rig. You don’t run a 64-bit Windows powered by the latest Haswell i7 with only 1GB of memory. It’s technically senseless.

      BUT. The A7 was engineered by Apple. They might have configured it to make things their way. ‘Coz you know, Apple. Who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see.

    • fandroid says:

      Garz, ewan ko sa iyo bakit mo pagdududahan ang ARM Holdings, mismo na designer ng lahat ng ARM CPUs.
      Sa lahat ng ARM licensee, ang Samsung lang ang natuklasan na nagchecheat ng becnhmark tests. Ino-overclock nila ang CPU/GPU pag nadetect na tumatakbo mga becnhmarking software sa phone.Sa android police:
      http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/07/30/samsung-allegedly-boosting-galaxy-s4-benchmarks-by-selectively-changing-gpu-frequency-in-certain-apps/

  14. Adrian says:

    Yung nagsasabing gagayahin ng Samsung yung 64bit CPU’s ng 5S.. antayin nyo munang malaman naten kung saan at sino gagawa nung chip.. baka yung inaangking technology ng Apple eh originally gawa nanaman ng Samsung :D

    anyways imho walang pagkakaiba sa performance yan kung less than 4gb naman ang ram parang windows OS lang yan 32 bit vs 64 bit parehas lang kung 2gb lang ang ram mo, pero ramdam mo na yung difference pag naka atleast 4gb ram ka na :)

    • fandroid says:

      Iisa lang ang nagdesign ng ARM CPUs, ang ARM Holdings, parang Intel. Nagbabayad lang ng lisensya ang mga mobile phone companies na gamitin ang design. Maraming ARM CPU designs pagpipilian. Sa pag design lang ng SOC -System on Chip nagkakaiba- sa dami ng CPU core/memory, GPU tech/core, GSM/CDMA modem , na ginagawa sa isang chip lang. Madali hanapin ito sa google o wikipedia.
      Sa ngayon, ang Samsung ay nagfocus sa paramihan ng ARMv7, ARMv15 CPU core, pero ang APPLE nag focus sa paglabas 64-bit ARMv57. Tingnan na lang natin sa mga susunod na panahon kung sinong mang gagaya

  15. playboy says:

    Yuga u forget to incorporate that android is using dalvik vm and is actually running under 64bit environment since after ginger bread iteration. In android, 32/64 does not matter because android is neither 32 or 64 bit. The bit thing is pure gimmick in apple, see double floating ek ek, its a gimmick to mimic the hyperthread system like in pc chips because their engineers could not come up with quad core design. Simple as dat, but yes malaki impact sa mga tanga pag sinabing 64bit na d nman alam ang style pakulo drama ek ek boladas ng apple always jafakes king liar, like retina display nila na only 640 pixels lang nman when even chery mobile has 720 pixel as minimum heheh. True 64bit multicore will be when qualcomm decides to out theirs with support for at least 4gb ram. Un lang, who needs a raptor f22 when ur plain biznes is just going to sm to buy a pair of everyday shoes?

    • fandroid says:

      Itoy, ang ARM Holdings ang nagdesign ng 64-bit architecture na iimplement sa A53/-A57, hindi Apple, kaya hindi gimik ito kasi itong design ding ito ang gagamitin ng Samsung, Qualcomm, NVDia, Mediatek, etc. sa susunod na taon. Nagfocus lang ang iba sa contest ng paramihan ng CPU Core. Tingnan mo next year magsisigaya ang mga yan.

    • pwet pwet says:

      Bago ka umangal apple fanboy sa sinabi ni playboy basa ka muna. Ang arm holding ng uk in casd u dont know ay nag lilicensya lamang ng patent nila. Qualcomm mediatek samsung nvidia texas instrument until lately nag lie low ang major players. Apple ay pinapagawa sa samsung. But ang ng mga iyan ay tsmc taiwan ang foundry. O ayan alam mo na bobo. Its up nasa oem kung modify nila ang design nila. Sa case ng qualcomm highly modified ang chip nila, for example, ang snapdragon is a highly modifiex a9 that behaves more like a15. Ang sinasabi ni playboy ay true architecture ng 64 bit not advertisement. Pinapakita mo lang wala ka pinag aralan dahil ang sabi ni playboy ay tignan niu ang sabi ng apple ay double floating at double integer. Hindi true na 64 bit hardware architecture. That is like saying tignan niu ang samsung ang sabi ay octa core ang big little nila but not in reality eight core dahil pinagpatong na quad at may software na nag iimitate pra mag function na eight. Iyun ganun ang ang gimick ng apple, ginaya lang sa samsung. Hindi kasi medyo inexplain sa super laymans term ni playboy kya ikaw nman na bobo at walang pinag aralan na fanboy apple angal ka agad. Hoy mag aral ka muna kasi ng grade one, kinder lang iabot mo akala mo nman electronics engineering na natapos mo. At true ang sabi ni playboy, android is neither 32 or 64 bit dahil irrelevant ang bit sa dalvik virtual machine environme. But yes ang android ay nag ru run nasa 64 bit environment. Kya fanboy apple mag enroll ka muna sa grade one bago ka mangarap mag sasagot sagot dian stupid engot bobo.

    • Dakkol T. Butok says:

      Add ko din pwet pwet na 2012 pa nag announce ang qualcomm na meron na sila 64 bit architecture ng mobile cpu. Hindi lang “maybe” pa inimplement ng android dahil, una ang daming apps ang babaguhin, at maybe madami pa sila orders ng current chips sa different vendors. Unlike sa case ng apple na sa usa lang kilala, kaya kunti sale nila, in actual truth and reality hindi hyped ads. but worldwide ay 75 percent android share. Sa middle east na lang 48percent ang nokia na supplied din ng various arm ang chips nila. Madami factors pa befor natin makita ang 64 bit sa mobile inthe sense na yes kahit ang 64 bit natin sa pc ay d masyado appreciate kase only the intel ia64 is the true 64 bit, ung karamihan gamit sa consumer ay still x86 dat hybrids 32 and 64 bit. Ika nga ang lagi sabi ng mga experts, science is pure fiction.

    • rodolfo pangilinan says:

      Puso po ninyo, hehe relax guys, pwet at dakkol, just bear in mind, ang pinoy sadyang mahangin, akala nila porket nakabasa ng tabloid, may alam na. To tell u frankly, very low ang knowdledge ng pinoy pgdating sa electronics at information tech. Kya dito sa pinas we still train ang mga it at comp sci grads for six months before namin cla isabak ng menial jobs. Lagi nman kasi nag aabrod mga electronics engineers at besides, medyo mapurol ang mga naiwan dito. Ang mga bloggers nman, nakabasa lang mga iyan ng magazine akala mo may alam na, karamihan if not all tindero lang sa gilmore at grinhills, ng gadgets. Kaya, puso niu guys. Remember, pinoy ay sadyang mahangin kahit wlang alam. Period. Magalit na kayo kung magalit, but true nman, papansin lang kau kasi we do not want to hire u, for obvious reasons hehehe.

    • fandroid says:

      Basahin nyo na lang ang research ng ARM Holdings, para malanan kung ano advantage ng 64-bit sa 32-bit architecture sa ARM CPUs.
      If you feel name calling makes your argument valid, sinong kailangan bumalik sa school? LOLZ

      Fake octacore ang Exynos nung unang labas, kaya Snapdragon ng Qualcomm ang nakainstall sa Note tsaka Galaxy. Mabagal tsaka nag-ooverheat. Ano kaya yon? may factory sila tapos sa competitor bumili ng CPU? Baka naman ni-reverse engineer muna nila ang Snapdragon kaya ngayon 4Q 2013 lang naging true octacore. So yung unang labas nila ay marketting lang pala. Hindi din Samsung magfafab ng A7, TSMC ang kakakuha ng kontrata. 2011 pa na master ng TSMC ang pag fab ng A53/A57, kapartner ang Apple.

      http://www.anandtech.com/show/7313/samsung-announces-biglittle-mp-support-in-exynos-5420

      http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/09/14/after-its-disastrous-exynos-5-octa-samsung-may-have-lost-apples-a7-contract-to-tsmc

  16. tarush says:

    fyi, if you have Feedly, the author of this article is Ronnie Bulalong, a known Android fan :)

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