Tuesday, October 08, 2013, 05:41 pm PT (08:41 pm ET)
Qualcomm backs away from 'marketing gimmick' comment about iPhone 5s' A7 chipApple supplier Qualcomm has backed away from statements made by a senior executive that the 64-bit capabilities of the iPhone 5s' A7 processor are a "marketing gimmick."
image via iFixit
"The comments made by Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm CMO, about 64-bit computing were inaccurate," a Qualcomm spokesperson said in an email. "The mobile hardware and software ecosystem is already moving in the direction of 64-bit; and, the evolution to 64-bit brings desktop class capabilities and user experiences to mobile, as well as enabling mobile processors and software to run new classes of computing devices."
Last week, Chandrasekher Qualcomm's senior vice president and chief marketing officer caused a stir by saying that iPhone 5s buyers would see little in the way of benefits from the device's 64-bit chip.
"I know there's a lot of noise because Apple did [64-bit] on their A7," Chandrasekher said. "I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that."
The Qualcomm executive's remarks raised eyebrows due partly to the fact that he also appeared to hint that Qualcomm supplier of the LTE chips used inside Apple's mobile devices would soon be coming out with its own 64-bit mobile processors. Such a development "just makes sense [from an engineering standpoint]," Chandrasekher said.
In its response, Qualcomm did not go into further detail on the benefits consumers could expect to see stemming from a move to 64-bit architectures in mobile devices. Chandrasekher last week said that the applications typically benefiting most from such processing power are large, server-class applications running on devices with 4GB of memory or more.
Apple, meanwhile, has maintained since introducing the iPhone 5s and the A7 that access to 64-bit architecture "almost always" results in apps running better.
"Among other architecture improvements," Apple claims, "a 64-bit ARM processor includes twice as many integer and floating-point registers as earlier processors do. As a result, 64-bit apps can work with more data at once for improved performance.
"Apps that extensively use 64-bit integer math or custom NEON operations see even larger performance gains. In a 64-bit process, pointers are 64 bits and some integer types, once 32 bits, are now 64 bits."
Despite Chandrasekher's comments, other mobile players are moving toward 64-bit processing as well. Google's Android platform is rumored to be going 64-bit at some point in the future. Also, Samsung quickly followed the A7's announcement by noting that its next generation of flagship devices will also have 64-bit processors.
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