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Apple to require 64-bit support from all iOS apps starting in February

In an announcement made through its developer Web portal on Monday, Apple informed app makers that their wares must include 64-bit support and be built with the latest iOS 8 SDK starting Feb. 1, 2015.

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

Posted to Apple's Developer webpage, the news comes as no surprise as the almost all current iOS devices are powered by 64-bit A7 or A8 chips.

Starting February 1, 2015, new iOS apps uploaded to the App Store must include 64-bit support and be built with the iOS 8 SDK, included in Xcode 6 or later. To enable 64-bit in your project, we recommend using the default Xcode build setting of "Standard architectures" to build a single binary with both 32-bit and 64-bit code.

Apple was first to bring 64-bit portable computing mainstream with the iPhone 5s 2013 and has since expanded the advanced processors to the iPad. With the introduction of this year's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the only iOS device left without 64-bit support is the base model iPhone 5c, which is now offered as a free-on-contract option from wireless carriers.

The introduction of 64-bit chips in smartphones and tablets reportedly "set off panic" for rival chipmakers like Qualcomm, which didn't have roadmaps as aggressive as Apple's rollout. At the time, competitors dismissed the technology as unnecessary for then-current portable computing tasks. Their tune quickly changed, however, and major chipmakers sank R&D funds into building their own 64-bit products that would roll out many months after Apple's first A7 chip hit market.

Developers can download the latest Xcode 6.1 with up to date iOS 8 SDK through Apple's Developer Center.