Thoughtful, detailed analysis of the new iPhones.
THE A7: ARMV8 AND 64-BIT ARCHITECTURE
First, performance. Apple claims this is the biggest year-over-year improvement in computing performance in the history of the iPhone, and in both my day-to-day experience2 and some benchmark testing over the past week, I have no reason to doubt them. The iPhone 5S is fast.
If anything about the 5S has proven controversial, it’s the move from 32- to 64-bit. I drew quite a bit of ire this week, from the following brief comment responding to a piece by AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski:
Indeed, there’s little to be gained from slapping a 64-bit chip into today’s smartphones, aside from being the first to say you’ve done so.
“Adding 64-bit processor capabilities adds nothing to the user experience today, as it would requires over four gigabytes of memory,” Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy, and a former executive at AMD, told AllThingsD. “Most phones today only have one to two gigabytes of memory, and it will be years before the norm is four.”
That’s nonsense. There are serious performance gains by going 64-bit. Addressing more than 4 GB of memory is not the only advantage.
I stand by that, but this deserves a full explanation.