Apple Working to Leverage New 'M7' Motion-Sensing Chip for Mapping Improvements

Alongside the new A7 main chip unveiled in the iPhone 5s this week, Apple also featured a new "M7" motion coprocessor designed to capture motion data to support new features such as health and fitness applications. As Apple notes on its feature page, the chip can also enhance mapping and location functions, helping the iPhone 5s sense and interpret movement.

The new M7 coprocessor is like a sidekick to the A7 chip. It’s designed specifically to measure motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass — a task that would normally fall to the A7 chip. But M7 is much more efficient at it. Now fitness apps that track physical activity can access that data from the M7 coprocessor without constantly engaging the A7 chip. So they require less battery power.

M7 knows when you’re walking, running, or even driving. For example, Maps switches from driving to walking turn-by-turn navigation if, say, you park and continue on foot. Since M7 can tell when you’re in a moving vehicle, iPhone 5s won’t ask you to join Wi-Fi networks you pass by. And if your phone hasn’t moved for a while, like when you’re asleep, M7 reduces network pinging to spare your battery.

nike_iphone_5s_m7
But beyond those mapping and navigation features, Apple is also working on tapping into the power of the M7 to add additional enhancements in future software updates, according to a report from 9to5Mac. Those improvements include the ability to help find a parked car as well as new features for public transit navigation and indoor mapping.

Sources say that Apple is testing a tool for its Maps app that, with the M7 chip, could analyze when your car is parked. When you park your car, the iPhone will register the car’s location. Now when you return to the parking lot, your iPhone will be able to help you assist with finding your car since it knows the vehicle’s location.

Besides the car-finding feature, Apple is also working on other mapping features. Apple is said to be planning notable updates to its Maps app in iOS 8, and the company is currently working on implementing both public transit directions and indoor mapping features (which Google already has on iOS).

These potential additions should be no surprise of course, as Apple has revealed its interest in such features through recent acquisitions of several smaller companies. In particular, Apple has acquired public transit app firms HopStop and Embark and indoor mapping firm WifiSLAM within just the past six months.

The iPhone 5s with Apple's new M7 chip launches on Friday, September 20.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
90 months ago

Yay! More opportunities for Apple to collect data about us.


True. But it's still part of why I'm in the Apple ecosysytem and not Android. Yes, they both collect information about us. (I would bet Google collects the most). Apple uses that information to give us a better experience. Google will also provide you key information to improve your experience, but they are also heavily leveraging that info for advertisments etc.
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
90 months ago

Yay! More opportunities for Apple to collect data about us.


Please, you're not that important :rolleyes:
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
90 months ago

Yay! More opportunities for Apple to collect data about us.


Same old paranoid nonsense.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
90 months ago

Yay! More opportunities for Apple to collect data about us.


No one is interested in what your mom packed in your Transformers lunch box this morning :D
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
90 months ago
Better user experiences is the driving force behind Apple designs and why I am firmly entrenched in their ecosystem. Some are more successful than other at times, but their relentless pursuit of perfection and commitment to refinement of the user experience are notable and appreciated by this shareholder/customer.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
90 months ago

I wonder why they don't use this a marketing strategy? Instead they use this 'Touch ID'. WOW...

For me this M7 chip is the innovation within the 5S, not the chip itself but the idea of how you can use it. Seriously, WTF Apple!?

You're seriously missing the power of Touch ID that is going to be unlocked as soon as iCloud Keychain comes to iOS 7 (maybe with the Mavericks launch). Imagine going to any website that requires a password and tapping a button to auto-fill the password and just having to touch the fingerprint sensor to access your keychain. You could even log into third-party apps if they open up the API for an app to retrieve its specific credentials -- they just need to ensure that one app cannot impersonate another.

Touch ID is going to be indispensable in mobile phone usage. It will bring the power of 1Password to a smartphone with one-touch unlock. You will also see Touch ID on iPads and on MacBooks and possibly on Apple's stand-alone trackpad -- though there are some security issues with transmitting the fingerprint over wireless from the trackpad.

M7 is cool too, but Touch ID marketing is heavily muted right now because Apple is obviously making sure they can properly secure user passwords from the likes of the NSA in the wake of recent news (hence the delayed launch of iCloud Keychain).
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Google's $349 Pixel 4a vs. Apple's $399 iPhone SE

Wednesday August 5, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by
Google this week launched its newest smartphone, the $349 Pixel 4a, a low-cost device that's designed to compete with other affordable devices like Apple's iPhone SE. We picked up one of the new Pixel 4a smartphones and thought we'd check it out to see how it measures up to the iPhone SE, given that the two devices have such similar price points. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel ...

2020 iMac Benchmarks Surface Online [Updated]

Thursday August 6, 2020 7:16 am PDT by
Benchmarks from the new 2020 iMac have today been shared online by Mac Otakara. The Geekbench benchmarks are from the newly-released 27-inch iMac with 3.0GHz Intel Core i5 processor and Radeon Pro 5300 graphics, compared to multiple specs of the previous 2019 iMac. The lowest spec 27-inch i5 iMac from 2020 performs about 20 percent better in multicore than the lowest spec 27-inch i5...

New 27-Inch iMac's Storage Affixed to Logic Board, 4TB and 8TB Configurations Have Expansion Connector

Friday August 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
Following a report from German blog iFun.de that claimed the new 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board, MacRumors has obtained additional information in an internal document for Apple technicians. In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a...

Microsoft's xCloud and Xbox Game Pass Not Coming to iOS Due to Apple's Restrictions [Updated]

Thursday August 6, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Microsoft's "Project xCloud" streaming game service that pairs with its Xbox Game Pass won't be available on iPhone and iPad when it launches this September, and Apple's App Store restrictions are to blame. Xbox Game Pass and its accompanying xCloud streaming feature offer access to hundreds of games that can be streamed to mobile devices, and Apple says that because it can't review each...

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Galaxy Buds to Compete With Apple's iPhones and AirPods Pro

Wednesday August 5, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Samsung today held a virtual Galaxy Unpacked event where it unveiled its next-generation smartphones that will compete with Apple's 2020 iPhone lineup, set to come out in the fall. Samsung announced the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the two newest devices in the Note lineup, and, more notably, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung's latest foldable smartphone. The...