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Apple partner Qualcomm pans iPhone 5s A7 CPU as 'gimmick,' yet hints at own 64-bit chip

post #1 of 168
Thread Starter 
A senior vice president for Apple supplier Qualcomm says the 64-bit A7 chip in Apple's iPhone 5s is more a marketing gimmick than a development that will lead to real consumer benefits, but at the same time appeared to hint that the chip maker is planning a future 64-bit processor of its own.



"I know there's a lot of noise because Apple did [64-bit] on their A7," said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Qualcomm, in an interview with Techworld. "I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that."

Apple has played up the possibilities inherent with a 64-bit mobile processor, saying that 64-bit apps "almost always" run better on such architecture. Such claims, though, have been met with skepticism from many in the tech industry, with Chandrasekher being the latest among those.

The Qualcomm VP pointed out that 64-bit processors are most useful in addressing memory quantities above 4GB, whereas the iPhone 5s has only 1 gigabyte of RAM. Consumer performance, Chandrasekher noted, would be largely unaffected, as the use cases most in need of 64-bit are large, server-class applications.

At the same time, though, Chandrasekher seemed to hint that Qualcomm ? which supplies the LTE chips used inside Apple's mobile devices ? would itself be rolling out a 64-bit mobile processor at some point in the future.

"From an engineering efficiency standpoint it just makes sense to do that," Chandrasekher said. "Particularly the OS guys will want it at some point in time."

Google's Android platform is also rumored to be moving to a 64-bit build in the future, though when exactly that might happen is unknown. Android is based on Linux, and some observers note that there shouldn't be any special development process necessary to tweak the platform to handle 64-bit processing power. Samsung ? Apple's chief rival and the largest player in the Android segment ? has already promised 64-bit chips for next year's line of flagship devices.
post #2 of 168
Quote:
The Qualcomm VP pointed out that 64-bit processors are most useful in addressing memory quantities above 4GB, whereas the iPhone 5s has only 1 gigabyte of RAM. 

 

The general-purpose registers being double-width is usually far more useful especially for applications that require lots of data accesses. Not to mention that ARMv8 brings about improved SIMD, etc. No doubt when all these other people come out with their own ARMv8 based cores they will yell from the rooftops about how great and wonderful they are, but they simply can't give Apple any credit for getting there first so it must be downplayed and mocked as not being useful.

post #3 of 168
Sounds like a bit of sour grapes. It only suggests that companies are behind on the curve and that Apple has a huge head start.
post #4 of 168
So, Apple puts in a 64 bit chip, building for the future, and it's panned as "gimmicky." Samsung cheats on benchmarking scores and it's a "feature."

Yeah, I think I understand.
post #5 of 168
It almost sound as envy!
post #6 of 168

nice try. 

the A7 is a dragon slayer

post #7 of 168
Do these guys ever check with corporate before opening their mouths? Apple is a huge Qualcomm customer.
post #8 of 168
So how long before this guy's comments come back to haunt him? There must be a great list of these anti Apple quotes somewhere that are ROFL-able in hindsight. Where's Soli when you need him?
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post #9 of 168
Wah wah wah!! Someone's jealous.
post #10 of 168

Mike Ash wrote a great piece on why the A7 is important.

post #11 of 168

Obviously Chandrasekher has to downplay the competition, but he couldn't be more wrong. For those who know a little about computer architecture, the following is a great breakdown of the new A7.

 

http://www.mikeash.com/pyblog/friday-qa-2013-09-27-arm64-and-you.html

 

Also, beyond just the chip improvements, Apple was able to take advantage of the extra bits in a pointer to help speed up the Objective-C runtime.

"Slow vehicle speeds with frequent stops would signal traffic congestion, for instance."

uh... it could also signal that my Mom is at the wheel...
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"Slow vehicle speeds with frequent stops would signal traffic congestion, for instance."

uh... it could also signal that my Mom is at the wheel...
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post #12 of 168
translation: "Apple just kicked out butts, we're up sh*t creek without a paddle, and don't know WTF to do."
post #13 of 168

"At the same time, though, Chandrasekher seemed to hint that Qualcomm ? which supplies the LTE chips used inside Apple's mobile devices ? would itself be rolling out a 64-bit mobile processor at some point in the future.

 

'From an engineering efficiency standpoint it just makes sense to do that," Chandrasekher said. "Particularly the OS guys will want it at some point in time.' "

 

He lost me. It's a gimmick "but" from an engineering efficiency standpoint it just makes sense to do it.

 

Which is it... a gimmick or a sensible thing to do?

na na na na na...
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na na na na na...
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post #14 of 168

Hmm, this sounds familiar. Sort of like how Samsung tried to downplay the Retina Display in the iPhone 4.

Quote:
According to a Samsung spokesperson, the high-res retina display on the iPhone 4 offers only a 3 to 5 percent advantage in sharpness over its own Galaxy S Super AMOLED screen, but sucks down a wasteful 30 percent more power. Moreover, Samsung believes its screens offer better viewing angles and contrast, and concludes by saying that "structurally, IPS LCD technology cannot catch up with AM-OLED display technology."
post #15 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

translation: "Apple just kicked out butts, we're up sh*t creek without a paddle, and don't know WTF to do."

 

Love it! 

post #16 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJones View Post
 

 

The general-purpose registers being double-width is usually far more useful especially for applications that require lots of data accesses. Not to mention that ARMv8 brings about improved SIMD, etc. No doubt when all these other people come out with their own ARMv8 based cores they will yell from the rooftops about how great and wonderful they are, but they simply can't give Apple any credit for getting there first so it must be downplayed and mocked as not being useful.

 

I feel the same way. It is as when AMD introduced the first 64bit desktop processor, everyone said it was not needed until they had their own. 

 

Quote:
 "I know there's a lot of noise because Apple did [64-bit] on their A7," said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Qualcomm, in aninterview with Techworld. "I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that."

 

Zero benefits? This coming from a processor manufacturer? His statement is more gimmick than really informative. 

post #17 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

So how long before this guy's comments come back to haunt him? There must be a great list of these anti Apple quotes somewhere that are ROFL-able in hindsight. Where's Soli when you need him?

 

Probably as quick as mine did when I said Apple would never go back to plastic :embarrass 

post #18 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJones View Post

The general-purpose registers being double-width is usually far more useful especially for applications that require lots of data accesses. Not to mention that ARMv8 brings about improved SIMD, etc.

Anandtech did some benchmark tests showing the performance differences:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7335/the-iphone-5s-review/4

Some features of the new architecture show massive improvements. 64-bit on its own offers smaller gains but it's still essentially free performance. A 50% gain in some cases is worthwhile.

The Infinity Blade devs said they saw improvements beyond the raw compute power:

http://venturebeat.com/2013/09/12/more-power-what-iphone-5ss-64-bit-processor-means-for-gaming/

"“The main thing that 64-bit processors let you do is address a lot of memory — more than 2 gigs or more than 4 gigs depending on your operating system,” Braid developer Jonathan Blow told GamesBeat. ”Last I checked, iOS kills programs when they start eating way less [than 2GB of memory], so from that standpoint it doesn’t help. Maybe it will in the future.”

Blow gave a potential example where Apple could add full virtual memory to iOS, which is a process where the operating system temporarily treats storage space as RAM. The 64-bit processor would enable the iPhone 5S (and future devices) to compute more of that data all at once.

“[The new processor] is a good thing for developers, but probably more in the long-term rather than the short-term,” said Blow. So, the memory bonuses — which are probably coming at some point — won’t have much of an impact on the iPhone 5S. The 64-bit processor should have an immediate positive effect, however, on the speed of iOS and software running on the system.

“It’s a little bit of an overkill for where we’re at right now,” Chair co-founder Geremy Mustard told GamesBeat. “But it really helps with load times. That’s for games and for every app. It’s really amazing how smooth the operating system feels because it is running on this chip.”

“Apple showed a chart that says the new A7 chip is two times the raw horsepower of the A6 that was in the iPhone 5,” said Mustard. “We’re actually seeing even greater gains because the 64-bit processor is running instructions even more efficiently. We’re actually seeing our load times increase five times on iPhone 5S. It feels fantastic. It loads almost instantly.”

Really, as with anything you find in a spec sheet, a “64-bit processor” only means something if it actually improves the end-user performance. According to guys like Mustard and Blow, the iPhone 5S’s new guts will do exactly that in the near and long-term."
post #19 of 168

The a7 is fantastic.

 

Do we know what this means? Yes, it means Apple had to (only god knows why) limit the RAM to 1gb so iOS 9 doesn't run that great on the 5s.

Seriously Apple, what the hell? There's 0 reason for it.

 

By far the best tech company of all time... yet, on things like RAM on iDevices and the screen on the macbook air, lack of keyboard lights on the 2010 air, they are pathetic.

They have 150 billion staying still. Don't know how to spend it? there's no need for it... Just lower your margins a little by increasing value on devices.

 

Just because all of the other OEMs are pathetic on the high end, it doesn't mean that Apple shouldn't be pushing forward.

 

p.s: forgot about memory on idevices. still 16gb on a 700€ phone? please.

post #20 of 168
But but but Android is already practically basically virtually essentially more-or-less 64-bit!!! Android wins again!!!

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post #21 of 168

While the Qualcomm guys are running their mouths I wish they would tell us what the hell happened to their RF360 Front End that was rumored to go into the iPhone 5s. I don't know if they had problems with production or something else but it is very disappointing these were not included since it would have meant one iPhone model for each color and storage size instead of 4 or 5 like they must produce now. It also would have meant that some carriers would not have been left out in the cold in terms of not supporting all the bands on their network like Sprint and several other carriers in other countries were done this round by using an older front end solution. None of the 2.5Ghz acquired from Clearwire currently being repurposed for both voice and LTE will be supported on the 5s. Not a big deal now since it still is a relatively small footprint but within a few more months that will be a severe limitation. 

 

All I see is this press release from February. So while you are running your mouths criticizing Apple for making a 64-bit how about you look in the mirror and tell us why you promised the RF360 would be shipping by now and failed to deliver. 

 

http://www.qualcomm.com/media/releases/2013/02/21/qualcomm-rf360-front-end-solution-enables-single-global-lte-design-next

post #22 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post
 

The a7 is fantastic.

 

Do we know what this means? Yes, it means Apple had to (only god knows why) limit the RAM to 1gb so iOS 9 doesn't run that great on the 5s.

Seriously Apple, what the hell? There's 0 reason for it.

The iPhone 5s only has 1GB of RAM because it isn't RAM hungry like Android phones and doesn't need the extra RAM. What exactly are you running on a 5s that truly needs more than the 1GB of RAM available? If you're running something on your 5s that needs more than 1 GB of RAM it's likely not really best run on a phone.

post #23 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Consumer performance, Chandrasekher noted, would be largely unaffected, as the use cases most in need of 64-bit are large, server-class applications.

 

iOS server? ;)

post #24 of 168
Regarding 64-bits, Qualcomm sounds just like Samsung as described by Jean-Louis Gassee:

It's nothing. You don't need it. We'll have it in six months.
post #25 of 168
He's lucky Steve isn't still around to hear him say that. With him, it'd be personal. Either he would lose his job or Apple would have a new supplier.

BTW, this Saturday is the second anniversary of Steve's death. RIP.
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post #26 of 168
He's just talking his book. Everybody does it.
post #27 of 168
Forgetting all the hype and theory (most of the complainers ignore the fact that there's more to the A7 than memory addressing), the proof is in the pudding.

Apple's A7 with two cores at 1.3 GHz (and the corresponding energy consumption) is roughly equivalent to a four core AMD chip from anyone else at 2.3 GHz. Clearly, Apple's chip is a very high performing chip and does so at low energy consumption. If you want to call that a gimmick, go ahead.
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post #28 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

Probably as quick as mine did when I said Apple would never go back to plastic 1embarassed.gif  

You're OK, it's not 'plastic' it's 'magic plastic'. "unlike any plastic phone you’ve ever held" 1biggrin.gif
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post #29 of 168
Nokia and BB disregard iphone 1 as a gimmick and ignore its true value. Do not let history repeat itself. Apple has not been known to put gimmicks into their devices. Seri appeared to be a gimmick at first but now after several updates it is working much better.
post #30 of 168
I'm pretty sure that there is a more important reason why they went with a 64 bit chip beyond marketing, Apple just haven't tipped their hat yet. Once again Apple's competition will be caught off guard and scramble to keep up.
post #31 of 168
Insignificant or "zero benefit" changes don't normally warrant a public statement from a VP. Nice try Qualcomm. You make a lot of really great stuff and you've delivered a lot of innovation in the wireless world, but don't try and downplay the significance of what Apple is doing. Its disrespectful, especially coming from a fellow innovator.
post #32 of 168
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
.......
At the same time, though, Chandrasekher seemed to hint that Qualcomm ? which supplies the LTE chips used inside Apple's mobile devices ? would itself be rolling out a 64-bit mobile processor at some point in the future.
........

 

But obviously those will be used in server class smartphones only.

 

LOL.

post #33 of 168

It would be and will be a gimmick on Android... because it can't figure out how to make use of the extra horsepower. But since this is Apple, and since they deeply integrated arm64 into Xcode and the Objective-C runtime, the gains are real. Ask any game developer who has taken advantage of that. Faster plus better battery life? Good luck Qualcomm.

post #34 of 168
He's just mad that his uber-clocked gazillion core Snapdragon 800 is no faster than Apple's highly efficient dual core processor.

And the Snspdragon 800 is barely 2 months old, so nobody can claim the usual "imagine that - a brand new processor is faster than a 6/9/12 month old processor" BS that the apologists throw around. For all intents and purposes the A7 and Snapdrsgon 800 were released at the same time and represent the pinnacle of SoC designs for their respective companies. And Apple has proven their superiority when it comes to processor design.

Now wait until the A7X comes out.

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post #35 of 168
He said: "There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that."

Why his company wants to come with a 64-bit CPU then????????

What a retard!
post #36 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

 

p.s: forgot about memory on idevices. still 16gb on a 700€ phone? please.

€700? Really? What is Apple's portion of the price, versus all the taxes that your politicians have piled on to that price?

post #37 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

So, Apple puts in a 64 bit chip, building for the future, and it's panned as "gimmicky." Samsung cheats on benchmarking scores and it's a "feature."

Yeah, I think I understand.

 

You gotta understand Qualcomm's perspective. 5 years ago, Apple wasn't even in the chip business. However, this is pretty much ALL Qualcomm does.

 

The A4/A5 CPUs were a little behind the contemporary processors, but made up for it using the GPU.

 

A6 and variants almost caught up to the contemporary chips.

 

The A7 has taken a leap forward which demonstrates the unique advantages Apple's integration gives it. Something Qualcomm just cannot replicate. Like the guy points out, Qualcomm is gonna wait for Google to deliver a 64 bit capable OS before they release a 64 bit chip. OTOH, the 3rd party devs need to wait for Google to release the 64 bit OS, then Qualcomm to release the 64 bit chip, and only then can the 64 bitness be useful for other devs.

 

Apple has already provided all of that in the iPhone 5s. 64 bit chip, 64 bit OS backwards compatible with 32 bit chips, all 64 bit first party apps, and easy conversion methods for 3rd party apps.

 

It will take years for Android and partners to reach where Apple has reached today.

post #38 of 168

 ...said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Qualcomm, in aninterview with Techworld. "I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that."   

 

Really? 

 

"From an engineering efficiency standpoint it just makes sense to do that," Chandrasekher said. "Particularly the OS guys will want it at some point in time."  

 

Translation-      we're working on our own marketing gimmick

 

 

Dust off your resume boys-     could be a Senior VP  CMO  job opening up at Qualcomm.     

post #39 of 168

Apple is just setting the table for the future feast.

post #40 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

 

Zero benefits? This coming from a processor manufacturer? His statement is more gimmick than really informative. 

He basically just said that his own companies major products provide "zero benefits" to customers.

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