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The iPhone 5S' 64-bit processor is for marketing not performance benefits

Posted: , by Michael H.

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The iPhone 5S' 64-bit processor is for marketing not performance benefits
Apple's iPhone 5S announcement today was a very strange one for Apple, because Apple more often than not focuses on the software side of things rather than digging into specs and hardware. But, today's announcement had the Apple team basically skimming over all of the iOS 7 changes, and focusing on the big hardware changes of the iPhone 5S like the fingerprint scanner, camera, and new 64-bit A7 processor.

The fingerprint scanner and camera look like pretty solid pieces of hardware, and upgrades that should make for a noticeable difference in usage for the average consumer. But, then there is the new 64-bit A7 processor. Look, the processor itself is undoubtedly going to be faster, provide better graphics performance, and maybe even help with battery life, but none of that really has anything to do with the fact that the A7 is the "first 64-bit processor in a mobile device". 

Here's the problem: the main benefit of 64-bit architecture is in being able to surpass the 32-bit limit of 4GB of RAM. As you may have heard, the iPhone only has 1GB of RAM, and the most we've seen from any smartphone is 3GB in the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. iOS 7 has been optimized, so the system may get slight boosts from the shift, but it won't be much. Otherwise, users live in apps, not in the system, and even apps that are optimized for 64-bit won't see that much of a performance bump. And, most apps will be slow to fully adopt the 64-bit architecture because of the wealth of iOS devices that are 32-bit only. 

Ultimately, the iPhone 5S may get boosts in performance over time as Apple improves the handling of 32-bit apps, and more apps optimize for 64-bit, but really this is just a push by Apple to capture the spec geeks who think that bigger is always better, even though the reality is that better is always better, and there's nothing better about a 64-bit mobile chip just yet. 

source: ExtremeTech

116 Comments
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posted on 10 Sep 2013, 23:48 53

1. mr.techdude (Posts: 495; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


Apple think that most consumers are just stupid but they know that isheeps are just plainly thick headed.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:02 39

9. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Take a look at any Android fanboy talking about the Moto X and you'll see that it's not just a problem with Apple users.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:19 6

15. sam_tek (Posts: 62; Member since: 18 Feb 2011)


I used to think Michael is just an Apple Fanboy, than thought he was just an android hater, then I began to think he's quite unbiased but just plain arrogant in his approach. And other times, I don't know what to think!

Michael, you are quite the enigma.

But mostly, I think he just calls spade a spade - with a bit of an attitude. :)

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:24 1

18. sam_tek (Posts: 62; Member since: 18 Feb 2011)


I like your work. Not run of the mill, and you often question. Great.

posted on 17 Dec 2013, 16:26

116. pawn3d (Posts: 3; Member since: 17 Dec 2013)


I think we're all giving him too much credit. He's just a mediocre tech troll who spams controversial propoganda to increase the site's ad revenue... Now, if he doesn't get paid by Phone Arena, then he's a bigger buffon than once thought.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:36

21. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)


True that. Active display and the shake-launch-camera thingy is super awesome though! I just wish Active Display feature was more customizable though.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:52 4

24. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2964; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


So, it is like Nokia announcing the 41 megapixel sensor in the 1020 or 808, but only capable of taking 5 megapixel photos???
Why in the world would Apple do that if the 4GB RAM barrier is light years away from being broken (In Apple\'s terms?

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 01:58 7

29. hmmm... (Posts: 41; Member since: 05 Jun 2013)


It is nothing like Nokia. Nokia\'s camera takes a 38mp picture and super sample it to 5mp. You get to keep the original 38mp as well as the 5mp which is used for uploading to save bandwidth. Many people don\'t know how Nokia\'s camera work. You\'re not alone though. But you got one and use it, then you will understand how cool it actually is.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 08:17

70. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2964; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


I do know how it works...i don't blame you
though. My way of expressing an example
was a l'le out of tune.
By 'It is like Nokia...' i meant, "it is as if
Nokia..."
You know, Imagine Nokia marketing the capable 41 megapixel sensor but in reality, it
can only take 5 megapixel photos.
Comprende?

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 11:48

84. amasog (Posts: 94; Member since: 22 Aug 2013)


just do some research first about the 41mp sensor on the phones you mentioned so that you wont look idi()tic!

1st, 808 can do 8mp shot in PV mode & 38mp in normal mode.

others? its for you to know!

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 11:55

86. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2964; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Well, before telling me to do some research will you please see comment #70? Yes, the one right above you...i'm just giving an example.
Chill buster.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 03:12

32. boosook (Posts: 779; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


So true, Michael, so true!

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 04:19 6

39. GeekMovement (Posts: 1497; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


Not all android fans are excited about the moto x so to say \\\"take a look at ANY android fanboy...\\\" is a bit over the line.
Apple fans only have the iPhone to look at (: so whether they like it or not, they usually accept it anyways.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 05:35 1

52. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4650; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Motorola Moto X has mid-range SoC with fancy X8 name on it and it is same marketing as Apple does with 64-bit A7 CPU.

Motorola Moto X is assembled in U.S. and Americans are not working for low payment as Asian workers does and it automatically lifts the price tag. And it is one of the main reasons why Motorola Moto X use yesterdays hardware because in such way Motorola can lower product's price. And all this new TREND OF LOWER SPECS AWESOMENESS is just a Motorola's propaganda - inflatable hype (the way to compensate high price tag).

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 05:49

55. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4650; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


I don't say that Motorola Moto X is a bad smartphone, because it is not bad. In overall view it is very balanced and good device, but there is no need to trick people that X8 SoC is something super awesome and that since now less performance is magically better than more performance. X8 SoC is yesterdays hardware with minimal upgrade and fancy X8 name on it to attract average users eye.

P.S.
I'm not a fanboy, Michael.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 06:20 3

58. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


But your overall suggestion - that using a dual core processor makes the Moto X only "not bad" and therefore not worthy - is what Michael has been fighting here. No matter how many reviews tell us about smooth performance and gaming prowess, diehard Android fans are still stuck on "bigger (and only bigger) is better". You continue to dismiss well rounded performers like the iPhone 5, Lumia 92x and Moto X.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 06:41

59. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4650; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


I don't say that Motorola Moto X hardware can't handle the latest games or apps (at least for today). I just say that Moto X hardware is not high-end.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 07:39 1

63. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


Which is exactly what Apple haters have said all along about every new iPhone since the 4S - if it doesn't have a big screen and top of the line processor, it isn't high-end. But there are dozens of huge, highly-powered Androids out there in China. Are they really high-end, or just wannabes?

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 09:42 1

80. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4650; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"But there are dozens of huge, highly-powered Androids out there in China. Are they really high-end, or just wannabes?"

In my opinion high-end device is device wich has high build quality, high-end hardware and latest software. If these Chinese smartphones match these criterias then they are high-end devices.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 11:59

88. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


Would you pay $200-300 on contract for one though? Or $700 full price?

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 13:56 1

93. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4650; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


I don't know anything about smartphones you are talking about, i just said that In my opinion high-end device is device wich has high build quality, high-end hardware and latest software. If these Chinese smartphones match these criterias then they are high-end devices. Also I'm from Europe and there I buy phones without any contracts, full price. :)

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 14:31

95. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


The point I keep trying to make - and writers like Michael are on board with - is that hardware specs alone don't dictate a great device. If the hardware and software are a good match, you don't need the biggest, fastest CPU on the market. You need what works well and gives you a great, smooth user experience. That's what you're spending money on.

Apple has understood this all along. They put most of their emphasis on GPU performance and build/materials quality. That's what people like about iPhones - the look, the feel, the smoothness. They don't even tell you that the iPhone 5 is a 1.3 Ghz dual-core, because it's irrelevant. Motorola tried to do the same with the X8, but ultimately they had to admit that yes, it's "only" a dual-core S4. But that doesn't matter, because the phone they put it in is well-built, feels great, and runs smoothly. They took a page from the iPhone playbook.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 15:41 1

98. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


And the Moto X failed, cause it didn't use DragonTrail glass or Aluminum or steel on it's devices, unlike iP4, and 5. Even the iP4s GPU is much better than Motos X device.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 16:01

100. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


The phone was just released two weeks ago and it's already failed? Interesting. All's I know is I played with one in store the other day and it was comfortable to hold, well built, nicely sized, and was smooth and speedy. Whether that translates into sales against the (plastic) G2 and S4 is yet to be seen. The only fail I see is their silly exclusivity deal with AT&T in the US on the 32 GB version.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 06:46 4

60. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 854; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


But the thing is, most Apple fanboys are blind unlike the Android fans!

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 15:33 1

97. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


What's wrong with MichaelHeller nowadays...... He is siding with Apple users!
We thought you was an Android, Fandroid™

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 16:02

101. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


Michael is a true critic. He calls out BS and hypocrisy on all sides.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:47 1

22. konnor (Posts: 30; Member since: 25 Apr 2013)


I think you mean "zombies". At least that's what the NSA likes to call them.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 06:18 1

57. joaolx (Posts: 337; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Apple did this thinking of the future. It might not take full advantage of the 64bit but it makes developers want to support it so that in the future the next iPhone can fully use 64bit architecture. Either way, 2x cpu and gpu performance and the new open gl still make a pretty good cpu. Not the fastest but still able to provide the smooth experience that iOS brings. And it will still run games with the same quality as android flagships if not better.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 11:41

83. Santi_Santi (unregistered)


devs are lazy

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 14:23

94. Topcat488 (Posts: 1046; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


If the iphone had a removable back cover to change the battery, i would agree with you. But what good i using 64bit now, when this phones' battery will be used up in the near future.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 08:52 2

77. power_x (Posts: 184; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)


This is a future proof feature
Jealous android fan

posted on 12 Sep 2013, 13:15

105. scumbledEGG (unregistered)


dear mr.techdude, haha! 64bit will be the set standards of smartphone, android/shamesung needs to catch up, and they've already announce their new gimmick with their upcoming 64bit inspired by apple, haha!!!

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 23:51 17

2. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


I remember when x64 came out on PC. It took 3+ years for an x64 os to follow and another year or two for applications. Most popular PC apps are still coded in x86 (32-bit). Apples 64-bit marketing is only to detract from their lack of CPU and GPU cores. Octacore A15 32bit trumps dual core A15 64bit today and will for years to come.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:22

17. dickwyn (Posts: 553; Member since: 07 May 2012)


the processor won\'t do much good without optimization on 64 bit artchitecture

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:26 3

19. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5289; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


I have been wondering what the motivation was for traders to dump Apple stock after todays presentation. The conventional wisdom seems to be the pricing of the 5C vs. low end competitors from Nokia and the Android community writ large. I am starting to think the traders are the early indicator of how Apple is losing its way again, similar to what happened when Steve was fired by John Sculley. That departure was the beginning of a long downhill slide for Apple.

Only thing is, there is no bringing Steve back, 'cause he is all gone now.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 07:18

61. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


And Ive is no Jobs. There\'s really no one identifiable that has Steve\'s vision and doggedness these days. If that person exists, they aren\'t working for Apple or aren\'t getting any spotlight.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 14:33

96. Topcat488 (Posts: 1046; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


Which Steve are you talking about??? The smooth talking snake oil selling Steve? Or Steve Wozniak!!! The true inventor of Apple Computer and the man who should have been ask to run the place.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 03:15 4

33. boosook (Posts: 779; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


There's a difference: we really needed 64 bits on PCs, because we really needed to be able to use more ram, becauase we have to process more and more data. I'm currently working on the developement of a server application which requires a minimum amount of 16GB of ram due to the large quantity of data it has to handle. I cant' tell you how much 64 bits have been important for some software developers on PCs. But I'm talking about enterprise server applications.
In a smartphone... memory is needed to run apps. It's unlikely that we'll never need more than 4GB of RAM in a smartphone. Of course, this might change in the future, but we certainly do not need it now and for many years to come.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 06:13

56. joaolx (Posts: 337; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


And yet according to developers it takes to hours to support 64bit. Lack of cores? Who needs more than two? Samsung doubles the performance by doubling the number of cores while Apple doubles performance by doubling performance per core. I\'m not saying the A7 is the fastest but it sure is fast. And since iOS is smooth and simple it still runs apps and games at the same quality or better than Android flagships. It\'s not always about performance, it\'s about experience.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 07:41

64. Shatter (Posts: 1766; Member since: 29 May 2013)


Well the iphone doesn't have 4gb+ of ram so there is no benefit from 64 bit.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 08:45

75. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5289; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


And, based on current spec of 1Gb of RAM for the 5S, there isn't likely to be more than 4Gb of RAM for some time to come, either.

64-bit SoC on the iP sounds more like pablum.

posted on 09 Nov 2013, 01:12

111. beachguyva (Posts: 9; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


And you're an idiot for believing the author of this article that 64 bit only is used for addressing more than 4GB of RAM. That's stupid. Soooooo stupid. If that's true, then wy are most 64bit laptops/desktops now sold with only 4GB of RAM? Damn this so stupid. Why don't you go take your 64 bit Core 2 Duo or Core i3 and install 32 bit Windows 7 on it..Then install 64 bit windows 7 on the exact same computer and run them side by side....I'll wait.

posted on 09 Nov 2013, 01:17

112. beachguyva (Posts: 9; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


You have to develop the technology before it can be utilized..of course it took time for the OS to come out. One reason for that is profit. Another reason is developer tools must be created. An 8 core 32 bit processor that has virtually NOTHING programmed to utilize all 8 cores is useless to a 64 bit dual core which i should explain briefly ( Intel Core i3 is Dual Core but runs 4 Cores Virtually and multithreads) that you need to educate yourself on how CPUs handle information before you run your mouth using lack of knowledge on how more cores does not equal better performance.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 23:53 4

3. BREvenson (Posts: 190; Member since: 17 May 2012)


It's interesting to see how much effort Apple puts into bragging about its internal hardware, despite the fact that most iPhone users are not concerned with the technical aspects. I've sold these phones before, among many others, and as both a retailer and observer, I've seen that overall, iPhone users usually don't care or don't know about the hardware specs; for them, the phone's design and/or its popularity is far more important than what kind of processor or RAM it has.

Extra details where it is not needed; it'll still sell millions, 64-bit processor or not.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 04:30 1

43. reckless562 (Posts: 545; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


the poor iphone customers (like my dad) dont even, or barely and often mix up the EASY difference of RAM and ROM.... lamo, apple iz evil
what 18 yr old spoiled teen girl even cares???? let alone knows about 64 bits??

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 07:50

66. rawbow (Posts: 406; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


People do care, i have seen more shoddy droids in teen hands! oh wait that was an S4...no a Grand maybe!? lol

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 23:54

4. Santi_Santi (unregistered)


I knew it from the beginning. Not only useless but also power hungry and pointless. You don\'t need that processor to run iOS. Heck you don\'t even need that to run angry birds. All I know is that I\'ll see all of those phones running out of battery every 3 hours. That\'s a fact

posted on 09 Nov 2013, 01:00

109. beachguyva (Posts: 9; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


First off 64 bit processors are more efficient than 32 bit processors. Second 64 bit processor are far superior in running multiple applications simultaneously utilizing virtual cores and have a larger on chip cache. ALSO 64 bit architectures are better with power management.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 23:55 18

5. GeekMovement (Posts: 1497; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


Apple is deceiving customers. Sad for them.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:01 4

8. techspace (Posts: 394; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


but it is a 64 bit processor after all...
samsung makes a dual quad core processor and calls it an octa core processor and that is just stupid.
i don\'t think apple fans will care about the processor anyway, the only thing that they will think of is the new home button...that\\\\\\\'s good enough for some of them to buy the 5s

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 04:15 1

38. GeekMovement (Posts: 1497; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


If I can recall, the processor that Samsung made has 8 cores in it, but it doesn\\\\\\\'t work all 8 at the same time. It still helps with the performance, but I agree it cannot be called an octa core processor.

Apple on the other hand is advertising something that does nothing to boost their handset at all because it\\\\\\\'s useless and unnecessary unless you have more than 4gb of ram. They just didn\\\\\\\'t have enough \\\\\\\"new\\\\\\\" features to announce so they\\\\\\\'re trying to make their fan base excited with big numbers that doesn\\\\\\\'t mean anything.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 08:10

68. techspace (Posts: 394; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


samsung's naming was completely false...in apple's case, the naming is correct
the 64 bit processor will make the difference but it won't be utilized completely.
anyways, apple's users will always concentrate on the speed, not on the specs(otherwise, they would have bought an android phone with quad core processor), so if its faster than the a6, they will like it.
talk to apple fans, they will not mention the 64 bit architecture at all...as i have already said, they will talk about the new home button

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 04:33

44. reckless562 (Posts: 545; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


LOOK!! most of the iphone customers are like my dad and sister. the poor iphone customers (like my dad) dont even, or barely and often mix up the EASY difference of RAM and ROM.... lamo, apple iz evil
what 18 yr old spoiled teen girl even cares???? let alone knows about 64 bits?? my sister dont!! ill she duz is instagram ;( we didnt even raise her to be a hoe lols

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 07:44 3

65. Shatter (Posts: 1766; Member since: 29 May 2013)


Most iPhone users still think Retina is better than Android screens which hasn't been true since qHD android phones started coming out.

posted on 09 Nov 2013, 01:01

110. beachguyva (Posts: 9; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


It doesn't matter how many cores are on the phone if the programmers don't write the code to be used by all the cores. Stupid overmarketed quad core androids lol

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:11

12. Santi_Santi (unregistered)


\"So you too can be as much as deceptive as we are\" Lorem Ipsum

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 23:55 1

6. techspace (Posts: 394; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


i think they should have made the iphone 5c, an ipod touch and a new ipad mini with an a7 chip and1 gb ram
and the iphone 5s,ipad 5 with 2gb ram
the 64 bit processor will show the difference even without much ram on ios devices but the real problem is that the developers need more devices with 64 bit architecture

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:00 2

7. christianqwerty (Posts: 460; Member since: 05 May 2011)


I think the quad core processors are for marketing, just like 1080p screens.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 00:19 4

16. sriuslywtf (Posts: 77; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


No. Just no. quad core processors are made for power and efficiency. If you need to amp up the hardwares like screen size and use multitasking. you need an efficient and powerful processors.

64 bit processors were still an innovation too but to date, its not that necessary.

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