Apple's A7 Processor Truly 'Desktop Class', iOS Apps Don't Take Full Advantage

apple_a7AnandTech provides a detailed analysis of Apple's A7 (ARM-based) mobile processor which was introduced in the iPhone 5s. The latest information and analysis comes from Apple's own code changes to the LLVM Compiler project.

While AnandTech goes into great detail on the architecture of the A7 chip and how it compares to the A6, they conclude that the A7 chip is indeed -- as Apple claimed -- "desktop class" and "the rest of the players in the ultra mobile CPU space didn't aim high enough". In fact, they found that there are almost no iOS apps that take full advantage of the A7 processor. The processor even seems overpowered for the current devices in both RAM bottlenecks and battery consumption.

Qualcomm chief marketing officer originally described the 64-bit A7 as a "marketing gimmick" but Qualcomm later backtracked on that statement. Another Qualcomm employee then said that the 64-bit Apple chip "hit us in the gut."

"Not just us, but everyone, really. 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."

Any reference to "desktop class" Apple processors may remind readers that there have been recurring rumors that Apple has been testing ARM processor based MacBook Airs. Apple even threatened that it would stop using Intel chips due to concerns over power consumption. AMD or even ARM were speculated to be possible alternatives.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

BaldiMac Avatar
113 months ago
Wait! I thought 1GB is more than sufficient and there would be no point in having 2GB of RAM in any iDevice! (At least Apple fanboys state this...)
:rolleyes: Setting aside your strawman argument, a RAM bottleneck refers to the speed of the RAM, not the amount of memory.
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
newagemac Avatar
113 months ago
I think its hilarious that even Apple's old dual core A6 processor in the iPhone 5C from last year's model is on par with current top of the line" hexacore" Android phones like Galaxy S5.

The 64 bit A7 is in a whole 'nother league. Just goes to show how much more advanced iOS and their engineering team is combined with Apple's philosophy of precisely matching software with hardware. My guess is they have big plans for iOS and the A8 chip. Much bigger than just a phone.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sky Blue Avatar
113 months ago
It'll power some nice games in that new Apple TV ;)
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ohbrilliance Avatar
113 months ago
Wait! I thought 1GB is more than sufficient and there would be no point in having 2GB of RAM in any iDevice! (At least Apple fanboys state this...)

You do realise that we are individuals with our own opinions, and there is no consensus on the amount of RAM that is adequate, so lumping us into a group of 'fanboys' that think one way makes for a poor argument. There are plenty of us that consider 1GB insufficient with the 64bit architecture.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Menneisyys2 Avatar
113 months ago
The processor even seems overpowered for the current devices in both RAM bottlenecks and battery consumption.

Wait! I thought 1GB is more than sufficient and there would be no point in having 2GB of RAM in any iDevice! (At least Apple fanboys state this...)
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BaldiMac Avatar
113 months ago
You're wrong. You asked me for a proof of Apple fanboys' usual Apple-defence of stating 1GB is sufficient and iDevices wouldn't really profit for more RAM. I did present you an example of this from an otherwise well-regarded, helpful (but seriously biased for Apple) guy with thousands of posts (read: he isn't a "noname" over at the Apple forums of DPR.)

You really can't tell the difference between "there would be no point in having 2GB of RAM in any iDevice" and "we think 1 GB is a good compromise at this time"?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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