No game changers from Apple

No game changers from Apple

Apple finally unveiled its new flagship iPhone 5s last week, which adds a fingerprint sensor, an improved camera and a new, speedier A7 processor.

Oh, and it now comes in gold too.

Except for the mildly interesting fingerprint sensor, the rest are incremental upgrades.

But Apple also spent an inordinate amount of time talking up its new A7 processor, which is the first ARM-based mobile chip to use a 64-bit computing architecture.

Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller even called it a desktop-class architecture.

Coming from Apple, all these technical details seem strange because the company usually glosses over them.

Besides the obvious benefit of supporting more system memory - a 32-bit system would be limited to 4GB of RAM - a 64-bit architecture can be more efficient as it is able to handle more complex instructions and mathematical calculations that require greater precision or involve huge numbers. This is useful for certain apps, such as those that involve encryption.

For the majority of apps, 32-bit is fine and a 64-bit system will run 32-bit apps without any issues.

No doubt the A7 chip has better performance than its predecessor, but it is more likely because of its processing hardware (more than a billion transistors) rather than its 64-bit architecture.

If it is anything like what can be seen on the PC platform, some developers will not even bother to switch to 64-bit because there are no benefits. Besides, the lower-cost iPhone 5c still uses the older, 32-bit A6 chip.

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