) iPhone 5S may not be the technological leap we all hoped it would
be, one internal component apparently has manufacturers scrambling
to catch up.
Back in September, many analysts and consumers greeted the iPhone
5S with halfhearted praise. Given the leaps and bounds that
(OTCMKTS:SSNLF), and other Android manufacturers have made in
recent years, the iPhone no longer seemed to be a must-buy when
compared to the wide variety of competitors. So when Apple unveiled
another half-measure "S" release when the industry demands that
every new device leapfrogs to the latest and greatest, it seemed
that Cupertino fell short of the mark.
However, the iPhone 5S boasted a feature that no other smartphone
had: a 64-bit microprocessor. But the A7 chip, now also powering
the 2013 line of iPads, didn't appear to "rock" the industry upon
its announcement. Despite the boost in capabilities and performance
benchmarks, users wouldn't see much benefit until a wider rollout
of 64-bit apps and a significant upgrade in the iPhone's RAM. And
considering the only certainties in life are death, taxes, and
incrementally faster processors, it would only be a matter of time
before every smartphone sported 64-bit chipsets.
) CMO Anand Chandrasekher referred to the A7 chip as a "gimmick,"
adding, "There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that." Following
the executive's comments, Qualcomm quickly played damage control,
claiming the comments about 64-bit computing were "inaccurate" and
reassigned Chandrasekher to a different position.
And now, three months later, an anonymous insider at Qualcomm
told Dan Lyons at Inbound Hub
that the A7 chip is far from a gimmick to other manufacturers and a
much bigger deal than originally suspected.
"The 64-bit Apple chip hit us in the gut," the employee said. "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
terms it's like, 32 more, and now everyone wants it."
"Apple kicked everybody in the [euphemism for male reproductive
organs] with this," the insider colorfully described. "It's being
downplayed, but it set off panic in the industry."
Indeed, 64-bit chips were always an inevitability, but there is
always something to be said about being first -- especially when a
company beats its competitors' timelines by months or even a year.
Apple blindsided competitors and put them back on the fast track to
deliver beefier chipsets to their mobile lines.
And that's not as easy as it sounds.
Qualcomm recently announced its 64-bit Snapdragon processor, and
Samsung is expected to debut its own version in a mobile device
early next year. Qualcomm's timeline isn't as optimistic: The
company plans on introducing its 64-bit microprocessor in a
smartphone in the second half of 2014, making the A7 chip basically
a year ahead of the industry.
This is a huge win for Apple, one that was desperately needed. Its
once-innovative reputation has suffered following the loss of its
former CEO, and several good-but-not-stupendous updates to its line
of existing products hasn't helped. It's been years since it last
debuted a new device, and many have declared Cupertino to be behind
the curve in terms of industry-leading development.
And although there is some validity to that sentiment, it's just
nice see Apple still have an ace or two up its sleeve.