iPhone 5s 64-bit A7 chip is a 'marketing gimmick,' says Qualcomm exec

iPhone 5s 64-bit A7 chip is a 'marketing gimmick,' says Qualcomm exec

Summary: Despite the claim, Apple's dual-core A7 silicon outperforms Qualcomm's 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor.

TOPICS: Mobility, Processors
Apple's A7 processor
(Source: Apple)

While many pundits and consumers seem to have been impressed by the 64-bit A7 processor powering Apple's new iPhone 5s, rival chipmaker Qualcomm has labeled it a "marketing gimmick" and claims that it offers consumers "zero benefit."

The claim was made during an interview earlier this week by Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Qualcomm.

"I know there's a lot of noise because Apple did [64-bit] on their A7," said Chandrasekher. "I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that."

"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," said Chandrasekher.

Technically this is not accurate since ARM's Cortex-A15 silicon 40-bit Large Physical Address Extensions that allows for the addressing of 1TB of RAM, although under this setup address space continues to be limited to 32-bit per process.

Chandrasekher did however concede that Qualcomm will eventually come out with a 64-bit processor because " OS guys will want it at some point in time."

Prior to his move to Qualcomm, Chandrasekher was a senior vice president at Intel, and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group.

Despite the 64-bit architecture, the iPhone 5s still only has 1GB of RAM. However, benchmarks tests show that Apple's A7 dual-core silicon is faster than the 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor powering the Samsung Galaxy S4 (which much be a double blow for Samsung since it manufactures the A7 for Apple), and holding its own against the 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 inside the Sony Xperia Z1.

Based on this alone, there seems to be more to the A7 than just marketing gimmicks.

Topics: Mobility, Processors

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  • He said the 64-bitness of the processor was a marketing gimmick.

    "Based on this alone, there seems to be more to the A7 than just marketing gimmicks."

    He didn't say the A7 was a marketing gimmick.
    • none of your bitness

      ((( "He said the 64-bitness of the processor was a marketing gimmick. He didn't say the A7 was a marketing gimmick." )))

      Either way, he's wrong.
      • Let's see,

        He makes chips for a living and he's wrong because a couple of guys on a tech blogs comment section said so. Yeah okay, that makes a whole lot or sense.
        • He's both right and wrong

          The 64-bit architecture has no immediate benefit now. However...

          Apple is setting up its platform of the future, so it makes sense from Apple's point of view to introduce a 64-bit processor now, so app developers can get an ecosystem going early. Then, Apple will make a strike at putting 64-bit ARM processors in bigger devices. For this reason I'm surprised Google hasn't put a 64-bit ARM processor in an Android device.

          Qualcomm's Anand Chandrasekher was attempting to criticise Apple, but his remarks and the resulting headlines only succeeded in promoting Apple.
          • Also future proofing AppleTV

            Some are saying this move is also a stronger play in the living room with AppleTV with more powerful games/apps etc.

            Makes sense to everyone else but the small minded. The same small minded individuals who questioned the need for an iPad, when Netbooks were 100 times better. They couldn't see the direction the market was heading then with such a device. Apple is one of the most calculated tech companies in the world.
          • Calculated? hmmm

            I wouldn't say calculated, many followers in which if smaller companies with less of a following wouldn't have done so well with their "bold" ideas.

            Might not seem so bold now and more of genius, but at the time some of these devices hit the markets, economy wasn't as favorable for new devices.

            Instead Apple made a market for itself and the smaller compute platform.
        • True but.....

          His company makes chips that are not 64bit so what else is he going to say? "hey the 64bit is the greatest thing since sliced bread but we don't have it." I think not. The true value of 64bit in a cell phone is still to be determined.

          Of course he must be right because a marketing guy, especially a VP, would never lie.
        • No. He hypes his companies chips for

          SlickKim said

          "He makes chips for a living and he's wrong because a couple of guys on a tech blogs comment section said so. Yeah okay, that makes a whole lot or sense.'

          What part of "...chief marketing officer at Qualcomm." don't you understand.

          This man doesn't make chips. His job is to hype his companies chips and to knock the competition's chips. That is how he makes his living.

          So his stated opinion on the merits of 64 bit in Apple's chips has even less significance than your own.
          Henry 3 Dogg
    • Whatever he said is not correct

      And why are you parroting this nonsense?

      Use your own head and the knowledge of computers you claim to have to arrive to your own answers.
      • I'm parroting nothing.

        I merely corrected him. I took no sides on this issue.
  • Not marketing gimmick ... duh

    As people in the computer should know software always trails hardware. What Apple is doing here is getting its developers ahead of the curve before competitors can get their products out by allowing them to develop more powerful 64bit applications.

    By the time competitors such as Samsung get their 64bit phones/tablets out for developers to develop for Apple will probably have a 12 months lead time on 64bit applications.

    Just wait to you see what we developers can do with 64bits, analysts won't understand that, they can't program!
    • Gimmick...no, it is beta testing

      64bit processor on smartphones makes no sense, what would a average Apple smartphone user do with a 64bit app? Nothing different than what they are already doing now or even Android and Windows Mobile users.

      This move from Apple seems more of a beta testing in a large scale without having to put money out of their pockets. Developers and users will do all the testing while Apple get's paid. I think this is one of their first steps on trying to get away from Intel on the computer side. Next step will be obviously the iPad then few years later the Macintosh and then the world.
      • *Sigh*

        I think people forget, the first 64-bit chips did not go into computer's with 4GB's of RAM. They went into computer's with 512MB's of RAM.

        And it's rather obvious that the Qualcomm exec is only saying this because there 64-bit chip isn't ready yet.
        • Exactly

          Exactly. But the world if full of people whose knowledge and memory of computing history stretches back only a handful of years. And what they remember is that it was 31 bit addressing limits that pushed PC buyers to 64 bit machines.

          Unfortunately they have neither the history, or the intelligence, to think beyond that.

          The first 60 bit supercomputers around rarely had more than 8MB or RAM, though we would probably have talked in terms of 1 million words then.

          Now if you want to find something that is largely marketing hype, it is the 3rd and 4th core in Qualcomm's quad core smartphone processors. That's just a waste of silicon area, and power, in a smartphone.
          Henry 3 Dogg
      • "What would a average Apple smartphone user do with a 64bit app?"

        Today, nothing. Down the line it will be significant. They will roll this out to the Macbook Airs and the Macbook Pros to make their laptops even smaller and lighter. The Mac Operating System can use the 64 bit processor to run apps.

        Eventually, Apple may actually put OSX on the iPhone which would vastly open up the doors to the number of apps you could run on it.
        • Really?

          Apple is going to dump Intel Core architecture in favour of ARM, which is significantly slower across any benchmark (ARM is not even a spec on Core architecture's speed even in the next 5 years), then re-write their operating systems, applications, and ask all their software partners and developers to do the same, for the SECOND time in a couple of decades, then put a non-touch OS, which Steve Jobs was VERY clear would not cross the iOS line as Windows 8 has tried to do saying that different devices will always need different operating systems and scoffing at the fact Microsoft even tried this?

          What's the weather like on your planet?
          • Technically,

            it'll be the 4th time since the platform was created that you'd have a massive codebase overhaul if Apple pushes ARM on the Mac platform. (68k>PPC, OS Classic>OS X, PPC>Intel.)
        • Marketing Gimmick for sure!!!

          Lets be real for a second, of course the future benefits of a 64-bit chip is going to be bright, but the average customer of these devices dont know that. Talk to people ask them what a 64-bit chip does for them and they draw a blank, they have a very basic idea but thats it, and i'm sure apple knows this with all the research they do before a launch. People understand that 64-bits is better then 32-bits. Developers understand the potental. By the time 64-bit applications come into MAJOR play the iphone 7s will be on the market. So advertising it and packaging the 5s with it is clearly a way for them to tell the average consumer look our new phone is different from our last phone so buy it. Them putting it on the 5s was pointless .
          • You are way out

            "By the time 64-bit applications come into MAJOR play the iPhone 7s"

            You are way out.

            This isn't the Windows world. People work to Apple's coding guidelines and samples which make the Objective C very scaleable.

            Most of the iPhone apps that I use are already 64 bit. There is almost nothing in the process list that isn't pure 64 bit.

            In my own code, conversion was trivial. And the 64 bit apps are running significantly faster than the unconverted 32 bit apps.

            You yourself stated

            "Talk to people ask them what a 64-bit chip does for them and they draw a blank.."

            So why would anyone use it as a marketing gimmick. You contradict yourself.
            Henry 3 Dogg
        • Really

          "Today, nothing."

          Look at the process stack on a iPhone 5S running iOS 7

          Everything delivered as part of iOS 7 is 64 Bit now. As are Apple's additional apps.

          The idea that 3D map rendering, photo editing, video editing, 120 fps HD video compression, presentation effects, stream encryption, multitrack session recording... isn't going to benefit from a 64 bit data pipeline now, is ludicrous.

          How many years have passed since Windows went 64 bit, and Windows 8's standard browser, IE, is still 32 bit.
          Henry 3 Dogg