Originally Posted by SolipsismX
But how? I'm still cloudy on how they would know a chip is 32 or 64-bit. We're not talking about a node change which is something that needs to be performed at the fabrication level and is completely up to Samsung but an instruction set of a chip. What about Chipwork's images say "This is 64-bit"? Samsung would know that Apple included 4MB of RAM on the chip and other physical features but I don't see how Samsung would know it's 64-bit just by looking at it.
if they really did know all about this chip itt really makes that part of Samsung uncharacteristically tightlipped and ethical when they could have leaked the news and let Samsung make an announcement when Apple starts ramping up production before the iPhone 5S was announced.
It would be pretty implausible for Samsung not to know the A7 was 64-bit. A big part of device manufacturing is an insane amount of QC and rigid specs on just about every film property imaginable. Film stress, refractive index, particles.... name it. Wafers are continually under SEMs, FIBs, and TEMs which will easily show you anything you want to know about a device.
Prior posts about there being 'over a billion transistors on a chip, no way they'd find 64 bits!' are a little laughable. First of all a transistor pretty much has 3 IO's, (source, gate and drain) so it would be a pretty poor place to look in the first place. All they'd have to do is look at one register and.... hey look, there's 64 lines going in instead of 32...... Done.
I don't believe your scenario of Apple surprisingly quickly flipping a pilot line into production is likely either. These things take a ton of very specific capital equipment that takes an incredible amount of resources to set up (both in time and money). If all they had was a pilot line and Apple said 'Ha! Start making millions of these! Samsung would probably realistically say, "We can get ramped for that kind of volume in 6-8 months if *everything* goes well" and even that is unrealistically optimistic.
I also find your suggestion that Samsung was, for once, being 'ethical' pretty unlikely too. Ha ha.
I think they just plain didn't think it was all that noteworthy. PC's have been 64 bit for years, they just didn't go there until they needed to. Samsung was probably like 'Hey look, this thing is 64 bit, what on earth do they need that for at this stage of the game?'
There was no surprise shown even during the manufacturing process- the surprise came after it was released and in consumers hands and Apple brilliantly proclaimed "We are the first to amazing 64-bit!" And the crowd goes wild!! And the non-Apple crowd made it even worse by saying 'they really don't need this yet' and kind of scratching their bums in general. Too late. Its already a lot like the articles reference to Spinal Tap. Apple built an amplifier that goes all the way up to 11!!! Now everyone wants an Amp that goes all the way up to 11! If you are in the Amp business, your next Amp *better* go up to 11 whether you think its needed or not.
64 bit is certainly not far away from being needed and Apple is well poised to continue to improve performance accordingly, but so will the competition. Who is right, who is wrong? Obviously on an Apple fansite I'm guessing what most peoples answer is, but with the 'amazing breakthough of 64-bit' is Apples latest offering 2x as fast as Samsung's latest offering? Nope. Okay, 50% faster? Nope. 25% Nope. C'mon! 10%??? Nope. Faster at all?? On some tests, yes, on others, no. Does that make Samsung amazing because they can build 32-bit devices that are as fast as Apple's 64-bit devices? Nope.
I just hope they both keep on trying to outdo each other =)