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How much credit does Apple deserve for the coming mobile 64-bit evolution?

0. phoneArena 18 Dec 2013, 17:21 posted on

There has been a lot of talk over the past few months about the move to 64-bit processors mobile processors. Obviously, the talk began with Apple's surprise announcement that the A7 system-on-a-chip (SoC) that would be found in the iPhone 5s was a 64-bit processor, making it the first 64-bit processor in a smartphone. But, as always happens when Apple does something like this, there is a debate about who was really "first"; so, I wanted to take a look at the entire ecosystem and talk about how much credit Apple really deserves in the coming mobile 64-bit evolution...

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 17:25 17

1. Ninetysix (Posts: 2548; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)

Apple the trend-setter. Fandroids pray to the Operating System Gods that v5.0 will be 64-bit aware.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 17:35

5. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)

Or the OEM ships a dalvik that works with armv8, which it has done for the 3 arm instruction sets android has used.


posted on 18 Dec 2013, 18:10 24

11. tedkord (Posts: 13168; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Only if the device has 4gb or more of ram. Even then I won't care much.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 18:24 7

20. PBXtech (Posts: 1032; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)

Exactly. Google has done major progress on getting Android fast and smooth without 64 bit processing. Until flagship, medium level, and entry level phones can run it, going 64 bit isn't necessary at this point in time.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 18:50 8

29. grahaman27 (Posts: 361; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)

Android has supported 64bit since 2.3...

Hi, have you met java?

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 19:01

31. grahaman27 (Posts: 361; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


posted on 18 Dec 2013, 19:23 7

34. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)

An article from September right after the A7 announcement, a pathetic excuse resorting to Intel versions.

You may google for 64-bit Android. You will find nothing since then.

Why? Cuz there is nothing to talk about. A 64-bit version of the Linaro toolchian. That's all.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 19:37 3

36. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1345; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)

64-bit is a gimmick until one of 2 things happen.

1. When we start seeing 4gig's of ram on phones.


2. When 64-bit apps have a clear advantage over it's 32-bit counterpart.

Now I'm not saying that Apple should not have released a 64-bit processor and OS. What I'm saying is that Apple is a long way from having either of the 2. Even if you use a iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s side by side it's not a night a day difference. Actually I noticed more crashes on the 5s vs the 5. I had the iPhone 5s and the joy of knowing that it's 64-bit wore off after 1 day of use. The sad part is that the phone is still gimped with 1gig of memory. The only reason why were talking about 64 bit is because the phone blogs bring it up. Your average Apple user don't even know (or care) what 64-bit is. But I bet that those same people will understand 1gig vs. 2gigs of ram.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 19:49 2

39. Zero0 (Posts: 592; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)

Three things:
3. It's 2038.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 21:24 2

56. taikucing (unregistered)

As a fandroid, I respect Apple for making 64-bit chip with more than 1 billion transistors (almost reaches Core i7 transistor count) & making ARM architecture almost competitive to x86 architecture (it even blows Intel bay trail out of the water with just 1.2 GHz). I hope someday ARM can surpass Intel. And what I've heard, Apple will replace intel CPU for the desktop with its own ARM CPU.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 21:34 4

58. taikucing (unregistered)

FYI, Apple A7 smokes Intel Celeron 2955U (1,4 GHz) & Intel Pentium 2117U (1.8 GHz) in some benchmarks.


respect Apple for making ARM architecture competitive to x86...

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 22:02 3

62. Finalflash (Posts: 3394; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)

Problem is that Apple has started a numbers game that does nothing to push the industry forward. It is purely marketing which really gets the consumer no benefit because everyone will expend a ridiculous amount of resources catching up to Apple's marketing genius. Regardless, I am hoping the Android OEMs keep delivering multiple upgrades (useful and not so much) unlike Apple and their 1 new marketing point every year.

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 00:42 2

80. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)

An interesting possibility :

- Apple can and will omit Aarch32 on the upcoming A8 thanks to the completed transition.
- Apple replaces the GPU with a simple 2D graphics IP.
- Apple makes it 16 core

What do we have here? A top-notch chip feasible for servers.

And what prevents Apple from dominating the server market?
- Top-notch SoC almost FREE of the heavy design cost every year
- Top-notch HW
- Top-notch design
- Top-notch OS
- Top-notch SW
- Top-notch IDE (XCode)
- Top-notch marketing
- Top-notch buying power

Apple will sell servers to Google!

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 00:54

81. mayur007 (Posts: 577; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

exactly you took my words lol .. this exactly i think of apple

i always see apple as trend starter not a innovator..

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 02:38 1

86. TheOldOne (Posts: 196; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

Acctually, after step2 "When 64-bit apps have a clear advantage over it's 32-bit counterpart." we will discover that acctually we need more than 4GB.

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 04:07 3

92. joaolx (Posts: 364; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

64 bit isn't just about supporting more than 4GB of RAM. Why does everybody think it's just that? There is more to it than that.

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 04:12 2

93. joaolx (Posts: 364; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

Since when is a 64bit SoC a marketing strategy? It might be but the performance benefits are also there.

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 04:20

94. joaolx (Posts: 364; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

If it continues to go like this I can't see a reason not to replace x86 CPUs. The power usage and heat is incredibly reduced compared to most ARM chips and WAY lower compared to any x86 CPU. In a few years it might easily catch, in performance, most laptop CPUs. The evolution of performance has doubled every year while the heat and power usage has always stayed the same. In a few years we might have Macbooks with ARM chips with equivalent performance to Intel CPUs and have better battery life and reduced heat, so less fans and more space for thinner laptops. And lets not forget that the mobile GPUs have also taken a big step forward, specifically nVidia Tegra, PowerVR and others.

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 04:33 1

98. joaolx (Posts: 364; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

It's not just about RAM. There is more to 64bit than using more than 4GB of RAM.

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 04:57 1

100. brrunopt (Posts: 742; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)

comparing to a very low end x86 cpu, right , makes total sense... The a7 reaches the very low end of x86...

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 05:35 1

105. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2188; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

Not at all. 64-bit archs aren't useful in mobile phones. Just waste of bits.

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 09:32 1

116. nlbates66 (Posts: 328; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)

sorry, but the reality is still that no ARM chip has anywhere near the processing power of a standard mid-range x86 chip from even 4 years ago

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 10:16 1

117. Pancholo (Posts: 380; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)

You seem relatively annoyed, brother.

Are you a fangirl or a tecchie? Here - Let me help you answer... *hugs*

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 15:20

118. designerfx (Posts: 76; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)

Hahaha, what?

64 bit is potentially useful, but that's not a guarantee. It's entertaining in that it brings things closer to par with laptops, etc - but Apple is about as much a trendsetter as nothing - look at their wonderful battery life with the 5s!


posted on 18 Dec 2013, 17:29 5

2. W.P._Android_in_that_Order (Posts: 208; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)

Everything will be 64 bit in a few years anyway.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 18:29 4

23. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)

Dalvik is a *32-bit* machine.

Even if the OS and VM get 64-bit porting, Dalvik is and remains a *32-bit* machine.

It's set to stone.

And it won't change.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 18:53 2

30. grahaman27 (Posts: 361; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)

Source? Dalvik supports 64 bit since android 2.3


posted on 18 Dec 2013, 19:14 5

33. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)

Here you are.
It's kinda a definition of the Dalvik machine, a 32-bit one.

I repeat : the bit numbers emulators are running in doesn't affect the bit numbers of the emulated machines.

And the link you gave just shows how sensitively they reacted to Apple's A7. Cuz they had and have nothing comparable.
They were so desperate that they had to resort to Intel versions.
What have we been hearing from them since then so far?
64-bit Linaro toolchain. That's all. Nothing in sight.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 19:50

40. Zero0 (Posts: 592; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


And you can run multiple instances of 32-bit Dalvik. Each app will only get 32 bits, but the overall system can exceed 4GB of RAM without PAE.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 20:43 5

46. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)

On x86, the larger addressing range is by far the most striking benefit of 64-bit computing, absolutely correct.
The true reasons behind this is :
- A modern Windows app is so demanding that it runs so much better with 4+GB RAM
- x86 doesn't benefit much from 64-bit computing in first place due to its CISC nature.

Neither of the two reasons doesn't apply to mobile.

On ARM, a new ISA was ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for increasing the performance beyond the Cortex-A15, and it also ABSOLUTELY REQUIRES a new OS built around this new ISA.

It's just that this new ISA happens to be a 64-bit one.

A single memory read consumes more power than executing 100+ instructions on ARM.
Writing to RAM costs even more.
The new ISA allows the 64-byte cache line to be completely filled and the data transfer to occur with a single access. A performance/power efficiency par excellence.

On ARM32, only very simple arithmetics can fill 8bytes from those 64. In usual cases, this value lies between 2 and 4.

For what ARM64 does with a single transfer, ARM32 requires 4~32 transfers. What a difference!

If you asked anyone *proficient* with the ARM architecture, he'd list the benefits of 64-bit computing on ARM in the order of importance :
1. power efficiency
2. performance
3. addressing range

Why bother when Android has neither a 64-bit Chip nor the 64-bit version?

Even if it did, why bother when Dalvik is a 32-bit machine?

Why bother when there won't be a meaningful number of 64-bit native apps for roughly five years thanks to the fragmentation?

You should worry about Android's "true" multitasking instead, because that's gonna backfire very badly on ARM64 due to its *mandatory* EL handling when switching between 32 and 64-bit mode.

A single 32-bit app running on 64-bit Android will cause performance issues for the WHOLE SYSTEM in addition to draining the battery to no end.

Forget what you witnessed on Windows x64.

ARM64 bears much more similarities to the Itanium than to the x86_64 that makes the transition extremely hard.

What Apple pulled out with this is indeed exceptional considering the Itanium fiasco.
Stop discounting this milestone.

And how was Apple capable of doing this so painlessly?
1. Everything in-house : OS, SoC, HW, toolchain, AppStore
2. Extremely low level of fragmentation
3. XCode with fat binary submission system

You see? Exactly areas Google sucks the most in.

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