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Apple's A7 SoC expected to be 20% more efficient, debut in 'iPhone 5S'

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
Along with predictions of a much rumored "iPhone 5S," KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo's note to investors on Thursday shed some light on Apple's new A-series system on a chip, expected to be called the "A7."

A6
Apple's A6 chip as seen in an iPhone 5 teardown. | Source: iFixit


With each successive iPhone generation, Apple has introduced a new processor design that trumps the outgoing version in both efficiency and speed. The current A6 used in the iPhone 5 was the first chip completely designed by Apple in-house, and the forthcoming "iPhone 5S" is predicted to build on that architecture with a so-called "A7" SoC.

Kuo believes Apple's upcoming A-series silicon to be based on the latest ARMv8 architecture. In comparison, the A6 was built on a custom ARMv7 setup that doubled number crunching and graphics speeds, while shrinking die size by 22 percent.

By stepping up to ARMv8, and tweaking hardware and software packages, Kuo believes Apple will manage to squeeze out a 20 percent increase in efficiency over the A6.

Boosting those numbers is the inclusion of LPDDR3 RAM, a faster memory specification than the LPDDR2 modules used in the A6. The increased bandwidth will allow Apple to maintain a relatively small amount of dedicated memory. Kuo expects the A7 to carry the same 1GB of on-die RAM seen with with the previous generation chip.

Kuo notes that there is no clear evidence indicating whether the A7 will support 32-bit or 64-bit processes, but says he "would not be surprised" to see 64-bit support this year. If 64-bit isn't included in the A7, however, Kuo says manufacturing trends will likely push Apple in that direction if and when a next-generation "A8" processor is released.

It is not yet known what company is fabricating Apple's next-generation SoCs, but one report claimed Cupertino will be moving away from longtime supplier Samsung in favor of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC).

The details above come from a research note issued earlier on Thursday in which the analyst predicts Apple will release the iPhone 5S alongside new options like a gold color shell and 128GB of on-board storage.
post #2 of 79
Really hoping he's right... sounds lovely. Come on Kuo- make me a believer!

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post #3 of 79

He is aware that he is talking about change instruction set architecture and not just new core implementation.. right? 

 

has he actually consider that this would also require iOS7 to be retargeted for the new 64 bit instruction set architecture? 

 

Throwing in third party apps into the equation would make it even more challenging as all the sudden we would have both 32 and 64 bit apps versions in the App Store for optimal performance.

 

If I was at Apple, I'd be freaking out if I was tasked with the releasing the biggest change to iOS since the original iOS release and also have to worry about changing to 64 bit environment at the same time. 


Edited by snova - 8/15/13 at 9:31pm
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post #4 of 79

I was wrong last year when I predicted the iPhone 5 would have a newer A5 with a die shrink and faster clock giving lower power consumption and a reasonable increase in speed. Then they surprised with the A6 which was a big jump from the A5.

 

I'd love to see an A7 this year but is it really necessary? The iPhone 5 is already fast and still compares well with the fastest Android phones available.

 

Then I have to look at history. From the 4 to 4S to 5 Apple basically doubled performance each time (4-4S was more than double). So I think it's likely we'll see an A7 and a PowerVR 6 series.

 

 

Off topic, but what I'd like to see is an A7 with 4 PowerVR 6 GPU cores in an Apple TV. Allow devs to write Apps and watch it take off as a capable gaming platform. The current Apple TV just doesn't have the power to run good games at HD resolution.

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post #5 of 79

Breaking: something else so blindingly obvious only an idiot would say otherwise.

 

I think that covers it, yeah? We've exhausted the wetness of water, spin of the Earth, and apparent color of the reflected wavelength of the sky.

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post #6 of 79
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Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

I'd love to see an A7 this year but is it really necessary? The iPhone 5 is already fast and still compares well with the fastest Android phones available.

 

An A7 this year may not be really necessary, but anything released this year needs to run iOS and apps being released in 2016 or later just to allow Apple products to boast of a value no other phone company can match.

 

Which brings me to try to imagine what a 2016 iPhone might offer as leading edge features... what indeed?? 

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post #7 of 79

I still think the A7 will be a quad core chip. This should allow devs to create more capable higher quality apps and would further distance iOS from the competition.

post #8 of 79
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Originally Posted by architecton View Post

I still think the A7 will be a quad core chip. This should allow devs to create more capable higher quality apps and would further distance iOS from the competition.

It would be nice and speedy but i think you would lose a lot of battery power to run the extra cores. Apple seems to favour a balance so I'm not sure if we will see quad cores quite yet.
post #9 of 79
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

If 64-bit isn't included in the A7, however, Kuo says manufacturing trends will likely push Apple in that direction if and when a next-generation "A8" processor is released.

 

Yup.  The ARMv8 architecture includes the AArch64 architecture, which supports the A64 instruction set.  ARMv8 will still run 32-bit OSes and apps with the AArch32 architecture and A32 instruction set.  This was all released in late 2011, so yeah, it's about time for some 64-bit ARM chips.

 

Which, of course, would enable an ARM-based MacBook Air running OS X.  Just a matter of time.

Don't forget that OS X started life on RISC processors.

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post #10 of 79
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Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

 

ARMv8 will still run 32-bit OSes 

under a 64bit hypervisor.

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post #11 of 79
Oh how I hope this guy is wrong. I don't know if I can take another year on my tiny 4S' screen. I just don't see the benefit in an extra 1/2" on the purported 5S screen. I hope Apple didn't just do a typical S upgrade this year. Didn't they listen to the masses of people over a year ago when they were disappointed with the 5? I think with the current Galaxy cannibalization going on right now, Apple will probably lose even more customers to them.

After all, why 128 gigs of storage when you have to squint to see anything?

I hate to say it but a iPod Touch and a S4 may be in the future of this fanboy.
post #12 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Don't forget that OS X started life on RISC processors.

not sure I see the significance of this comment.  

 

But if you want to be technical, actually OS X started life as NeXTSTEP. I assume you know which CPU architecture type that started on. ;-)

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post #13 of 79
No ARMv8 coming this year, and no 64bit.
It will be a slightly tweaked and faster version of Swift @ 28nm along with New Graphics, Hopefully PowerVR 6 aka Rogue. And it will be LPDDR3 2GB Ram.
post #14 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

No ARMv8 coming this year, and no 64bit.
It will be a slightly tweaked and faster version of Swift @ 28nm along with New Graphics, Hopefully PowerVR 6 aka Rogue. And it will be LPDDR3 2GB Ram.

you sound sure of yourself.

post #15 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttong_atx View Post

I just don't see the benefit in an extra 1/2" on the purported 5S screen..

I agree. Both my wife and friend did the upgrade from iPhone 4 to iPhone 5 last year.  Both have told me they like the smaller size of the 4 screen vs the 5 screen. strange, huh?


Edited by snova - 8/15/13 at 10:14pm
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post #16 of 79
Originally Posted by Shameer Mulji View Post
you sound sure of yourself.

 

Well, it's easy to tell. We know what's being manufactured ARM-wise, and we know what the newest chips in the architecture entail. 

I don't know if what he specifically said is right, but I'm not looking, either. 1tongue.gif

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post #17 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttong_atx View Post

...Didn't they listen to the masses of people over a year ago when they were disappointed with the 5? I think with the current Galaxy cannibalization going on right now, Apple will probably lose even more customers to them.

 

I don't know of anyone disappointed with the iPhone 5. ...'masses of people'... B.S.

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post #18 of 79
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Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post

I don't know of anyone disappointed with the iPhone 5. ...'masses of people'... B.S.

A person would only logically think this based on the number of Galaxy activations.

5 out of the 10 or 12 friends I have with iPhones went to the Note and the S4 when the 5 came out. They weren't impressed and neither was I. But I was holding on thinking Apple would get it right this year.

I haven't heard one person say "wow" when referring to the screen size on the 5. My wife didn't even want one until her 4 was busted.

Just saying...
post #19 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timbit View Post


It would be nice and speedy but i think you would lose a lot of battery power to run the extra cores. Apple seems to favour a balance so I'm not sure if we will see quad cores quite yet.

 

Maybe we'll see two new chips released this year. A Quad core A8 for the 5S and an improved Dual core A7 for the lower spec 5C. You just never know with Apple. Although I have to admit I'm probably just building my hopes up...

 

I just think they'll really need to up their game this time as competition is expected to be fierce this holiday season.

post #20 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttong_atx View Post


5 out of the 10 or 12 friends I have with iPhones went to the Note and the S4 when the 5 came out. They weren't impressed and neither was I. But I was holding on thinking Apple would get it right this year.

I haven't heard one person say "wow" when referring to the screen size on the 5. My wife didn't even want one until her 4 was busted.

Just saying...

Don't get me wrong...I love everything else about the 5. It is a beautiful, thin & light phone with awesome hardware and software. I just think sales are telling us that most people prefer a larger screen.
post #21 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by snova View Post

He is aware that he is talking about change instruction set architecture and not just new core implementation.. right? 

 

has he actually consider that this would also require iOS7 to be retargeted for the new 64 bit instruction set architecture? 

 

Throwing in third party apps into the equation would make it even more challenging as all the sudden we would have both 32 and 64 bit apps versions in the App Store for optimal performance.

 

If I was at Apple, I'd be freaking out if I was tasked with the releasing the biggest change to iOS since the original iOS release and also have to worry about changing to 64 bit environment at the same time. 

How did Apple do with the change from 32 to 64 bit for OS X?  I don't think it was that bad of a transition compared to the other guys.

post #22 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

How did Apple do with the change from 32 to 64 bit for OS X?  I don't think it was that bad of a transition compared to the other guys.

remind me again when they did that vs what the feature set change was of Mac OS X during that switch over?  hint it was a relatively cheap $19 DVD and had the word "upgrade" associated with it. Do you remember now?

Now compare that to iOS7 feature set change from iOS6.  I am not saying a switch over can't go smoothly, I am just saying there is a better time to do this switch over than when you are revamping most of the SW stack as well; In short, IMHO this is not the time to do this type of change. It would be more risky then it needs to be and there is no great pressure or need for 64 bit to be released with IOS7 as far as I can tell. 


Edited by snova - 8/15/13 at 10:53pm
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post #23 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by snova View Post

He is aware that he is talking about change instruction set architecture and not just new core implementation.. right? 

 

has he actually consider that this would also require iOS7 to be retargeted for the new 64 bit instruction set architecture? 

 

Throwing in third party apps into the equation would make it even more challenging as all the sudden we would have both 32 and 64 bit apps versions in the App Store for optimal performance.

 

If I was at Apple, I'd be freaking out if I was tasked with the releasing the biggest change to iOS since the original iOS release and also have to worry about changing to 64 bit environment at the same time. 

 

You didn't think they were going to avoid a 32bit to 64bit transition, right? Yes, the future in embedded is 64bit.

post #24 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by snova View Post

remind me again when they did that vs what the feature set change was of Mac OS X during this switch over?  hint it was a relatively cheap $19 DVD and had the word "upgrade" associated with it. Do you remember now?

Now compare that to iOS7 feature set change from iOS6.  I am not saying a switch over can't go smoothly, I am just saying there is a better time to do this switch over than now and based on when they did this with Mac OS X, this is not the time to do this. It would be more risky to do it now then it needs to be. There are too many things changing in the SW stack already.

 

And how much did Microsoft handle their transition? Buy selling a 64 BIt OS that hardly ran anything?  Either way, 64 Bit for iOS devices is coming, but it's a matter when.  I wouldn't worry about the 32 bit to 64 bit transition until when Apple announces it at WWDC, which is the forum for those kinds of announcements.

post #25 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttong_atx View Post


Don't get me wrong...I love everything else about the 5. It is a beautiful, thin & light phone with awesome hardware and software. I just think sales are telling us that most people prefer a larger screen.

I don't know about most ( or majority) of the people, but there is definitely a growing demand for large-screen smartphones.

post #26 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by snova View Post

remind me again when they did that vs what the feature set change was of Mac OS X during that switch over?  hint it was a relatively cheap $19 DVD and had the word "upgrade" associated with it. Do you remember now?

Now compare that to iOS7 feature set change from iOS6.  I am not saying a switch over can't go smoothly, I am just saying there is a better time to do this switch over than when you are revamping most of the SW stack as well; In short, IMHO this is not the time to do this type of change. It would be more risky then it needs to be and there is no great pressure or need for 64 bit to be released with IOS7 as far as I can tell. 

What are you worried about?  iOS updates are free, in case you haven't noticed.  With the $20 upgrade, it's a lot cheaper than releasing a different version of the OS and charging several hundred.

post #27 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

 

And how much did Microsoft handle their transition? Buy selling a 64 BIt OS that hardly ran anything?  Either way, 64 Bit for iOS devices is coming, but it's a matter when.  I wouldn't worry about the 32 bit to 64 bit transition until when Apple announces it at WWDC, which is the forum for those kinds of announcements.

I really dont know how Microsoft got into this thread.. but I agree with you. the question is when. I don't think the switch over from iOS6 to iOS7 is the time to do it. Maybe next year. 

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post #28 of 79
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Originally Posted by drblank View Post

What are you worried about?  iOS updates are free, in case you haven't noticed.  With the $20 upgrade, it's a lot cheaper than releasing a different version of the OS and charging several hundred.

I'm sorry, but you missed my point completely. it has nothing to do with price vs Microsoft. The price was a reflection of limited feature set improvement over previous release and instead a focus on internal changes not seen by the end user.  I was hoping you would figure out which release that was. My hint obviously failed.  Sorry for that. So I will spell it out. No offense intended.

 

The 32 to 64 bit transition happened from Leopard to SNOW Leopard. The price was very low because the feature set change, other than 32-->64 bit transition,  was minimal.   To quote wikipedia.

 

"Mac OS X Snow Leopard is intended to be a release aimed to refine the existing feature set, expand the technological capabilities of the operating system, and improve application efficiency. Many of the changes involve how the system works in the background and are not intended to be seen by the user."

 

 

 

This is when you do transitions like this.  Not during major feature set changes like from ios6 to ios7.   This is the year of the major SW feature set change. NEXT year is the opportunity to introduce the major new HW industrial redesign would be a better time to start messing with wider CPU and instruction set along with wider system buses to peripherals to go along with the ability to process more bandwidth. 


Edited by snova - 8/15/13 at 11:22pm
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post #29 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttong_atx View Post


A person would only logically think this based on the number of Galaxy activations.

5 out of the 10 or 12 friends I have with iPhones went to the Note and the S4 when the 5 came out. They weren't impressed and neither was I. But I was holding on thinking Apple would get it right this year.

I haven't heard one person say "wow" when referring to the screen size on the 5. My wife didn't even want one until her 4 was busted.

Just saying...


So "5 out of 10 or 12 friends" you had with iPhones had never purchased any apps or music or movies or TV series or books or have at all embraced the Apple ecosystem. Is this correct?

 

This is kind of a biggie for me. Even in the unlikely scenario that Microsoft or Google ever succeeded in creating a better mobile platform, it would still be impossible for me to switch because of the vast amount of paid content I'd be forced to leave behind.

post #30 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttong_atx

Didn't they listen to the masses of people over a year ago when they were disappointed with the 5?



Yes, I see what you mean. Only 60 million iPhone 5's sold since that massive disappointment, from those masses.

Imagine how many millions more iPhone 5's Apple would have sold
(maybe 80 to 100 million, to date),
IF those masses weren't so disappointed and ADORED their iPhone 5's, instead of just simply LOVING their iPhone 5's.

You are really tack sharp there, Sparky.
Edited by BuffyzDead - 8/15/13 at 11:28pm
post #31 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffyzDead View Post

ttong_atx wrote:

"Didn't they listen to the masses of people over a year ago when they were disappointed with the 5?"

Yes, I see what you mean. Only 60 million iPhone 5's sold since that massive disappointment, from those masses.

Imagine how many millions more iPhone 5's Apple would have sold
(maybe 80 to 100 million, to date),
IF those masses weren't so disappointed and ADORED their iPhone 5's, instead of just simply LOVING their iPhone 5's.

You are really tack sharp there, Sparky.

I dont think we need to start doing any name calling here. Its obvious to me the OP is in agony.  He wants to stay on iOS for the many reason we all love IOS and stay loyal.

 

I'd say if you want a "wow" factor for a bigger screen.. just pull out a mini iPad out of your pants.  That will give them a wow.  Or better yet a full sized iPad. ;-)

 

but seriously, you need to figure out why you went from riding on a cloud when you first got your iPhone to being in agony when you look at someone pulling out a big screened phone.    This is key. 

 

I have to admit, I also say "wow" when I see someone pull out a huge screen phone. However, its likely for a different reason then what you think. Its because I get a chuckle every time I see it. People are funny.  I get the same "wow" when I see 4x4 raised several feet off the ground, or guys revving their engines and spinning their tires at stop lights racing to very next red light a few hundred feet away. Its like they are living someone's else life they saw on TV. But I digress. Anyhow, for me it was about figuring out why other people do what they do and if its reasonable or simply the latest fad which makes no sense what so ever.  Society can really throw us for a loop sometimes, its important to be able to rationalize other peoples actions including our own.  Do I need it or just want it and why? Why was I happy with something yesterday but now I want something else?  

 

I guarantee you this; if Apple makes a huge screen iPhone, the competition with do a 180 and make a tiny screen instead.  This has all happened before.  All you have to do is recall how laptops screen sizes have changed over the years.  We started out with relative small screens, then we had ridiculous 17"+ laptops.. then we went to the other extreme with netbooks (with cries to apple to "please" make a Netbook for god sake!!).. now we are back to 13" MacBook Airs and smaller.  Why is that? How long do you think this big screen fad will last before they go in a different direction? Perhaps an iWatch will turn everyone on its ear and that will be the new fad instead of large screen. Who knows. All I know is I could care less how ridiculous phone screens sizes will get, because I like what I have now as much as I did when I got it .

 

Give that some thought.


Edited by snova - 8/16/13 at 12:12am
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post #32 of 79
If the iphone 5s or 6 don't have atleast a 5 inch screen I'm getting a note next September
post #33 of 79
That sounds sweet... An ARMv8 based swift core would make it very future-proof. And also more efficient as well. And GPU could possibly be PowerVr series 6. One of theese already popped out in an new media-Tek SoC and the performance was ridiculous... A single G6200 core at unspecified clock speed outperformed iPad 3 ! Which got an quand core PowerVr SGX 543 at 250 MHz ! And knowing Apple, from days of iPad 2 they always use higher end Power Vr cores than their competition and more of them.

Also addition of LP DDR 3 while maintaining the same amount of memory also contributes to higher efficiency.
post #34 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttong_atx View Post


Don't get me wrong...I love everything else about the 5. It is a beautiful, thin & light phone with awesome hardware and software. I just think sales are telling us that most people prefer a larger screen.

 

I'm sure Apple will make further improvements to the screen but this is not the right time. The next step is to standardise around 4 inches and get all the app developers on board with that. It's really easy for other manufacturers to pump out a range of screen sizes because they don't have a large customer base to fragment. Apple has rightly made minimising fragmentation a priority.
 
If it's any consolation most of the software on android devices is not optimised for the larger screens. I've seen people on public transport fumble awkwardly with a Sumsung Galaxy Note 2 just to play a gem matching game where the actual surface area of the game board was smaller than the 3.5" iPhone screens. The developers had to put a large border around the game just so it would be compatible with android phones with smaller sized screens.
post #35 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by architecton View Post

This is kind of a biggie for me. Even in the unlikely scenario that Microsoft or Google ever succeeded in creating a better mobile platform, it would still be impossible for me to switch because of the vast amount of paid content I'd be forced to leave behind.

 

Agreed. There would have to be highly compelling reasons for me to switch to an entirely different ecosystem.

post #36 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgroves View Post

If the iphone 5s or 6 don't have atleast a 5 inch screen I'm getting a note next September

Well, then you should then go out and buy a Note now and quite your whining.  Apple will release their larger screen iPhone when it's ready.  If you want one now, they don't have one. But they'll release a larger screen iPhone when they are ready.  They, to my knowledge, are still playing around with screen sizes.  I wouldn't buy a 5inch or 5.5 inch smartphone.  Too big and bulky, plus people look like idiots when they hold them up to their ears and they don't fit well in one's pocket.

 

I think somewhere between 4.5 and 5.0 is fine, but it depends on the thickness of the case.


Either way, if you are looking for a 5inch smartphone, I don't know if Apple will release one this year, I think it's sometime next year.  But when they do, it'll be better than the Note.  Plus, a lot of apps aren't fully optimized for the Note screen size and resolution, so keep that in mind.

post #37 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shameer Mulji View Post

you sound sure of yourself.

Anyone who have any knowledge of the industry and apply some technical knowledge to this rumors and speculation will know none of them are true. Most of these Analyst have ZERO technical background. You are only getting a faster clock, slightly tweaked Swift Core with much better Graphics and Double the Ram. ARMv8 isn't coming for another year or so at the earliest.
post #38 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgroves View Post

If the iphone 5s or 6 don't have atleast a 5 inch screen I'm getting a note next September

 

LOL!! Yeah as if you were ever really planning on buying an iPhone...

post #39 of 79

Another incongruent rather contrived sounding report. The problem being the analyst has read other reports that are simply technical marketing material rather than bare reality..

If 64 bit, it is likely in partnership with Samsung and may well mean spending money on using big.LITTLE. 

 

The main advantage of course is that like when they dropped the 3G and 3GS, new architecture allows them to more quickly move the 4 and 5 towards becoming obsolete, at least with regards to new software.

post #40 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffyzDead View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ttong_atx

Didn't they listen to the masses of people over a year ago when they were disappointed with the 5?

Yes, I see what you mean. Only 60 million iPhone 5's sold since that massive disappointment, from those masses.

Imagine how many millions more iPhone 5's Apple would have sold
(maybe 80 to 100 million, to date),
IF those masses weren't so disappointed and ADORED their iPhone 5's, instead of just simply LOVING their iPhone 5's.

You are really tack sharp there, Sparky.

 

Yes, the iPhone 5 sold 60M copies with its 4" screen. But time and perception have changed. A friend of mine got an iPhone 5, after 3GS, after a BlackBerry. He was at first wowed by the iPhone 5, screen size was not a problem. Now it is. Just a few weeks back, he said that if there wasn't a larger screen, he would go to Android next. Perceptions have changed. 60M people bought the 4" screen because they thought it was adequate for them. No doubt somebody still do. But I'm seeing more and more people thinking they need bigger screen. Call it by-product or brain-washing by the Android vendors or whatever, the truth remains: customers' perception—your reality. Perhaps some 5 to 10M of those iPhone 5 owner now want bigger phones; or may be another 5 or 10M customers chose not to buy and iPhone 5 because of the screen size.

 

The market is sating that Apple definitely need a bigger screen phone as their flagship. Apple has been late to the game, and none of the news we recently heard told that Apple was catching up. Yes, there are unique features to the iPhone, but if those rank below the bigger screen, Apple just loses a sale. What I want to see is a more diverse range of iPhone: an iPhone Classic with 4" screen, a flagship iPhone with 4.5" - 5", and an iPhone Mini with 4" screen and lower specs. Apple has done it with the iPod, and the Mac (a simple 2x2 grid: professional/home x desktop/mobile), then why not the iPhone?

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