August 27, 2013
iPhone 5S Rumor Round-Up: Will There Be An A7 Processor?
Fox News tech guru Clayton Morris told the world this weekend the new iPhone (the iPhone 5S to those in the know) will boast a new A7 processor built to be 31 percent faster than the current A6 System on a Chip (SoC). Moreover, Morris claims the new iPhone — expected to look exactly like the old one, but IN GOLD — will have a separate chip dedicated entirely to “motion tracking.”
It’s not really clear what a motion tracking chip would do, but in a follow up Tweet, Morris said something about an “interesting camera upgrade,” so, you know.
Another wild guesser, Mr. Ming-Chi Kuo with KGI Securities, claimed he’s heard the new iPhone SoC will move to an ARMv8 architecture, lending it a 20 percent increase in efficiency. This, said Kuo, will be accomplished thanks to the alleged A7’s 64-bit application support.
Let’s tie all these rumors together, shall we?
At this point we’ve got an iPhone 5S available in gold (and 128 GB, too) that could run on a 31 percent faster, 20 percent more efficient A7 chip that supports 64-bit applications. There’s also an unknown camera upgrade, which includes a separate motion tracking chip.
That’s one hell of a phone, no?
It’s easy enough to debunk part of this rumor. In fact, it’s a bit remarkable some of this stuff even made it to rumor status. First, the betas of iOS 7 have so far nary’a mention of 64-bit capability. If Apple were going to introduce this feature in their mobile OS, the developers had better know about it now. There’s always room for surprises, of course…but I doubt we’ll see 64-bit this year.
This assumes, however, that there will be a 64-bit capable SoC at some point in the future. Computing is certainly moving in this direction, so it only makes sense that we’d see a mobile chip like this at some point. As a matter of fact, about a year ago one computer chip expert, Linely Gwennap, explained that Apple probably has plans to switch to a 64-bit, ARMv8 architecture, but Moore’s Law holds that this chip probably won’t even see the light of day — for any company — until 2014.
Apple can do what they want, but if the A6 is Apple’s first “from scratch” design, as Gwennap suggests, and if Apple prefers to iterate on their designs (as their “S” naming convention suggests) then it makes sense that the next iPhone chip will probably be an A6X. Perhaps in quad core, as 9 to 5 Mac suggests, but possible in a tweaked reconfiguration. Don’t forget, after all, that iOS 7 comes with several under-the-hood tweaks to make it more powerful and efficient.
As for a motion tracking chip? Sure, I’ll buy it. Apple normally gives their camera a sufficient upgrade every year, even though the improvement between the 4S and 5 camera was really nothing to write home about. It was faster, thanks to the A6 chip, of course, and it takes slightly better low-light images, but that’s about it. In other words, the iPhone 5S is due for a significant upgrade.
And I’ve completely learned to live with the fact that Apple may release an iPhone in gold.
I’m still curious to know if they’ll release the iPhone 5Cs in America, however….and if so, where? Will they be prepaid only?
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