Apple's 64-bit A7 SoC 'set off panic' for chipmakers

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2014
Apple caught market-leading chipmakers off guard when it debuted the 64-bit A7 system-on-chip alongside the iPhone 5s in September, a move one Qualcomm insider says put the industry in panic mode.

a7-performance-20131009.jpg
Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller introduces the A7 system-on-chip.


In a report from Dan Lyons' blog HubSpot, an unnamed source at chipmaking giant Qualcomm said Apple's A7 "hit us in the gut," referring to the silicon's support for 64-bit processing.

"Not just us, but everyone, really," the person said of the surprise Apple's chip caused. "We were slack-jawed, and stunned, and unprepared. It's not that big a performance difference right now, since most current software won't benefit. But in Spinal Tap terms it's like, 32 more, and now everyone wants it."

Apple's A7 SoC holds the distinction of being the first 64-bit application processor to be used in a smartphone. Up until the iPhone 5s was unveiled, companies didn't see the need to include such an advanced processor in a handheld mobile device as apps were not able to take advantage of the extra horsepower. Even now, only a few programs outside of Apple's own stable are capable of addressing the technology.
"The roadmap for 64-bit was nowhere close to Apple's, since no one thought it was that essential" - unnamed Qualcomm insider.
"The roadmap for 64-bit was nowhere close to Apple's, since no one thought it was that essential," the source said. "The evolution was going to be steady. Sure, it's neat, it's the future, but it's not really essential for conditions now."

Apple managed to keep the A7 a secret until the iPhone's unveiling in September, quite an achievement considering the abundance of parts leaks leading up to the event.

At the time of the A7's release, Qualcomm's former chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher pooh-poohed the prospect of a 64-bit smartphone chip, saying of Apple, "I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that."

Less than a week later, Qualcomm clarified its stance on the issue and called Chandrasekher's comments "inaccurate." The ex-CMO was ultimately removed from his post and reassigned.

With the mass-produced 64-bit A7 AP in the wild, powering the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, the insider views Apple as being at least one year ahead of the competition, maybe more. Despite having the tech on a roadmap, chipmakers can't turn on a dime and moving their prospective timelines forward on such short notice will be challenging.

For example, Samsung, the foundries of which Apple uses to manufacture the A7, announced in November that it will be offering its own 64-bit Exynos chips sometime in the future. The Korean giant was mum on tentative release date, however.

"Apple kicked everybody in the balls with this," the Qualcomm employee said. "It's being downplayed, but it set off panic in the industry."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 145
    Yeah baby! Who's yo daddy now?! ;)
  • Reply 2 of 145
    The "set off panic" article title was circumspect, given the availability of the "in the balls" reference they could have used in the title...
  • Reply 3 of 145
    When I read this story earlier and MacRumors it made me smile as I remembered all the analysts and tech bloggers claiming that Apple could not innovate. Many downplayed the 64-bit microprocessor achievement that Apple had made. Nearly 3 months later the real news starts to trickle out about Apple's competitors panicking over the release of the 64-bit a seven chip. Everyone was caught by surprise. Now everyone wants one. Everyone is going 64-bit. I am glad Apple got there first! I am looking forward to reading the glowing reports of Apple's competitors' 64-bit processors when they come out in 2014 and 15. I have no doubt the analysts and bloggers will say Apple is falling behind and Apple cannot innovate.
  • Reply 4 of 145
    Once Apple has Xcode running on Ax64 iOS, you'll really see the industry freak out. An iPad pro with the ability to connect multiple large screen displays is going to give a lot of people heartburn for sure.

    Originally, you could only program a Mac using the Lisa.

    Then you needed the 68040 to create software for MacOS PPC.

    Later, PowerPC was required to write code for Intel OSX.

    Today, you need an Intel Mac to program the iPad.

    Tomorrow, you probably won't [B]even use [/B]Xcode on a Mac.
  • Reply 6 of 145
    I predict more "downplaying" to come from the "but but but Android's already 64-bit" and the "but but but you don't need 64-bit" crowds. This thread is just getting started.
  • Reply 7 of 145
    virtuavirtua Posts: 208member
    128 bits coming lol
  • Reply 8 of 145
    Can someone please explain how it was a big surprise when your number one competition is the person that is manufacturing it for you.

    Samsung had to have known if they are the one's building it.

    Maybe Samsung helped to keep it quiet so Qualcomm loses footing to Samsungs upcoming chip.
  • Reply 9 of 145

    Gullible dumbfks!

     

    As if a bunch out-of-touch, overweight, middle aged white guys could invent anything.

     

    These days are long gone, USians!

  • Reply 10 of 145

    But but but I remember a qualcomm head honcho recently saying that 64 bit chips in mobiles are just a marketing gimmick by Apple...!!

  • Reply 11 of 145
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jonathanworld View Post



    Can someone please explain how it was a big surprise when your number one competition is the person that is manufacturing it for you.



    Samsung had to have known if they are the one's building it.



    Maybe Samsung helped to keep it quiet so Qualcomm loses footing to Samsungs upcoming chip.

     

    I would say that after the revelations in the 2010 court case of possible leaks between various divisions of Samsung, that behind the scenes Apple came down hard on Samsung and tightened security significantly.

     

    There were probably very few people outside Apple who knew what the chips were capable of.

     

    This was while Apple was publicly looking for new chip foundries to supply them with chips.

     

    Samsung aren't stupid, Apple is a major customer, they would bend over backwards to keep them.

  • Reply 12 of 145

    Gullible dumbfks!

     

    As if a bunch out-of-touch, overweight, middle aged white guys could "invent" anything.

     

    These days are long gone, USians!

  • Reply 13 of 145
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appleisshit View Post

     

    Gullible dumbfks!

     

    As if a bunch out-of-touch, overweight, middle aged white guys could invent anything.

     

    These days are long gone, USians!


     

    It seems they were first with 64bit smartphones and ARM based tablets.

     

    So Mr Shit, what will happen next?

     

    btw the thing missing from "gullible dumbfcks" is u.

  • Reply 14 of 145
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post





    At the time of the A7's release, Qualcomm's former chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher pooh-poohed the prospect of a 64-bit smartphone chip, saying of Apple, "I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that."



    Less than a week later, Qualcomm clarified its stance on the issue and called Chandrasekher's comments "inaccurate." The ex-CMO was ultimately removed from his post and reassigned.

     

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by j4zb4 View Post

     

    But but but I remember a qualcomm head honcho recently saying that 64 bit chips in mobiles are just a marketing gimmick by Apple...!!


     

    I wonder where Chandrasekher was "reassigned" to?

     

    It sounds ominous, maybe he now monitors toilet roll supplies in the restrooms.

  • Reply 15 of 145
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

     

     

    It seems they were first with 64bit smartphones and ARM based tablets.

     

    So Mr Shit, what will happen next?


     

    iSheep will continue to buy iCrap...

    Crapple will continue to avoid taxes...

    Crapple will continue to "compete" via lawsuits...

  • Reply 16 of 145
    Can someone please explain how it was a big surprise when your number one competition is the person that is manufacturing it for you.

    Samsung had to have known if they are the one's building it.

    Maybe Samsung helped to keep it quiet so Qualcomm loses footing to Samsungs upcoming chip.

    In a previous response a few months ago someone stated something like, "Apple was testing 64-bit manufacturing with Samsung then out of the blue told Samsung to mass produce the 64 bit chip."

    The unexpected switch by Apple took Samsung by surprise. Amazingly Samsung did not leak the chip. Even if Samsung had three months maybe six months notice of what Apple was doing with the 64-bit chip, it could not change its direction fast enough to come out with its own 64-bit chip this year.

    There will not be a 64-bit Android OS until Google has a 64-bit chip to support it. Samsung can have a 64-bit in early 2014 but there will be no 64-bit Android OS to support it. I am uncertain Tizen is 64-bit or even ready for prime time.

    Yes, Apple has a 1+ years lead in the 64-bit arena.
  • Reply 17 of 145
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by appleisshit View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

     

     

    It seems they were first with 64bit smartphones and ARM based tablets.

     

    So Mr Shit, what will happen next?


     

    iSheep will continue to buy iCrap...

    Crapple will continue to avoid taxes...

    Crapple will continue to "compete" via lawsuits...


     

    I was wondering where the Samsung paid trolls are on this forum... They were by the droves on macrumors.... Now I feel complete...

  • Reply 18 of 145
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post





    At the time of the A7's release, Qualcomm's former chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher pooh-poohed the prospect of a 64-bit smartphone chip, saying of Apple, "I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that."



    Less than a week later, Qualcomm clarified its stance on the issue and called Chandrasekher's comments "inaccurate." The ex-CMO was ultimately removed from his post and reassigned.

     

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by j4zb4 View Post

     

    But but but I remember a qualcomm head honcho recently saying that 64 bit chips in mobiles are just a marketing gimmick by Apple...!!


     

    I wonder where Chandrasekher was "reassigned" to?

     

    It sounds ominous, maybe he now monitors toilet roll supplies in the restrooms.


     

    Maybe also making sure the pots are shining... ;)

  • Reply 19 of 145
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by appleisshit View Post

     

     

    iSheep will continue to buy iCrap...

    Crapple will continue to avoid taxes...

    Crapple will continue to "compete" via lawsuits...


     

    ...and u will still be missing from the gullible dumbfcks I suppose.

  • Reply 20 of 145
    poksipoksi Posts: 482member

    Crisis of Design II follows...:D

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