Editorial

Editorial: iPhone's 64-bit architecture is pure marketing fluff

In an announcement that surprised absolutely nobody, Apple officially announced both the iPhone 5c and the flagship iPhone 5s today. The announcements were pretty underwhelming, leading to one video saying the S stands for "same," as in it's the same phone. Even Microsoft and Nokia were poking fun at Apple's new lineup via Twitter today.

One piece of "exciting" news that I've seen circulating the Internet is the fact that the new A7 processor in the iPhone 5s is built on a 64-bit architecture. Apple did a great job of mixing the performance improvements of the A7 with the fact that it's a 64-bit processor, so much so that many people are saying that the wider bus is a great improvement. It stands to reason that since the 64-bit architecture is twice as high as the 32-bit architecture, it just must be a much better thing to have. Heck, read many of the articles about the new iPhone and you'll see people publishing pieces touting how great this new "desktop architecture" is in the new iPhone.

The problem is that most people don't understand how underlying computer architecture actually works, and are therefore simply excited when they see bigger numbers. The main advantage for a 64-bit architecture is completely tied to memory addressing, specifically around the fact that it can address more than four gigabytes of memory. If you ever tried to put four gigs of RAM in a 32-bit Windows XP machine, you would have seen that you could only see roughly 3.5 gigs. But the iPhone doesn't have more than four gigabytes of RAM, so why do we need this?

Common misconception on memory vs. storage

Apple has also done a great job confusing people on the differences between on-phone storage and system memory. Many iPhone (and we suspect Android and Windows Phone) users think that when they purchase a 32GB phone, that it has 32 gigabytes of memory and are surprised to learn that the iPhone 5 only had 1GB of system RAM. I haven't seen anything to indicate that number is going to increase with the 5s, and it will be at least a couple of years before we get close to 4GB.

In fact, if everything else was equal, a 32-bit application may actually run slower on a 64-bit processor because the operating system has to run the application through an emulation layer. The higher clock speed of the A7 will probably more than make up for the very slight reduction in performance, but it's still something to keep in mind.

We're also curious to see what will happen to Apple's app store. Android has long been criticized for market fragmentation - different devices, different screens, different operating systems. How will Apple handle developers who create 64-bit applications? Will they be forced to compile for both 32-bit and 64-bit, and the phone itself will decide which version of the app to download? We're sure Apple has some plan to make this transparent to users, but it will be interesting to see it in action.

The new phone is definitely another incremental upgrade in the line of iPhone devices, but the marketing buzz around the 64-bit architecture is nothing more than hype. Be a smart consumer and decide which phone you want based on facts, not fiction.

Image via Apple

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Google and others band together for greater NSA transparency

Next Story

iPad 5 body fully detailed in dozens of leaked high-res images

156 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

This editorial has made me so mad that I had to sign up for a Website/forum account for the first time in my life...

First of all, the amount of physical memory a processor can access has nothing to do with its instruction set/register size. And the example about 32-bit Windows not being able to support 4GB of RAM, or showing "just 3.5GB" has nothing to do with 32-bit or 64-bit (hint: it's a licensing restriction). In fact, Windows 2000 Advanced Server (And Datacenter Edition) both supported up to 64GB of RAM! On a 32-bit processor from 1999.

Similarly, a 32-bit ARM processor, like the one the iPhone 5 has, can support up to ONE TERABYTE of RAM. Moving to 64-bit has absolutely *nothing* to do with RAM size, and it is you that is misleading readers, not Apple. Seriously, if you're going to post an op-ed claiming something is "marketing fluff", please take a basic lesson in hardware architecture instead of misinforming people and bashing a product for all the wrong reasons.

Your arguments about "emulation" make no sense either -- you don't need to "emulate" 32-bit code. It runs natively, just like on Windows. And developers won't be "bothered" or "confused" by having to recompile multiple versions of the same application... they already do! When you build an App with Xcode, depending on the number of devices you want to support, it creates a MachO "Fat" binary with support for ARMv6, ARMv7, etc... this is less the case today since ARMv6 devices aren't really around anymore, but the system is still there. And now it will be updated for ARMv8. This is the same system that allows natively running 32-bit apps on 64-bit OS X and vice-versa.

In case you're curious, the reason you would move an operating system to 64-bit has to do with *Virtual Memory Address Space*. Read up on it.

you know ive had enough of this **** with all this rubbish. arm 64 bit i do not belive is true 64 bit. cus it started with amd 64 (possibly) but either way transitioned to what 64bit is now, and apparently the best part of 64 bit is the extensions allow stuff to run faster through iterations of sse1,2,3,4 and instruction sets like that. its a an evolution of technology through decades and im sorry but arm CANNOT be there becuase its just simply not as powerful. so it arm cant provide real instructiomn sets for 64 bit hardware and stuff how can apple build a "64bit" os on something that isnt the same thing? how can apple fully build a 64 bit OS using ARM processor whilst the macbooks are using intel i series procesorrs its night and day. a full fledged 64 bit processor vs an ARM quivalent which may have 10% of the registers a normal processor has. i seruiously doubt it. it sounds complete crap to me. i personally thing theyve bin shovelling so much **** there hallucinating!!!

Maybe actually learn a little bit about computer history become making such claims? The first 64-bit processors were built in 1961. Apple was also using 64-bit processors back in their PowerPC processor days.

The speed of a processor has nothing to do with it's instruction set sizes. Though, the A6X (last year's chip), was already a dual-core proc running at 1.4GHz.

Comparing the GeekBench scores, just one metric, but still:

Apple A5: 639
Apple A6X: 1,787
source: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/search?q=apple+a6x

If the A7 is truly twice as fast at the A6X, then that's about a score of 3500.

The Core i5 is the MacBook Air gets a score of: 6773.
The Core i5-460M gets a score of: 5614

Maybe not nearly as inferior as you think.

The high-end iPhone 5S disappointed Wall Street and revived fears that Apple's most innovative days may be behind it. The phone has a fingerprint scanner to improve security, but analysts said that was not likely to be enough to make the iPhone 5S a sure win in the crowded smartphone market.

64 bits is NOT twice as big as 32 bits. 33 bits is.

Consequently, I think I'll wait for the 65 bit iPhone. It'll be twice as fast.

Keep in mind Apple license their processor designs from ARM. Being the first company to buy ARM's 64 bit design isn't quite the same as being "innovative", is it.

Edited by Major_Plonquer, Sep 12 2013, 12:22am :

If Google did it first with Android and Samsung used a 64bit CPU in the Galaxy S4, I bet everybody would be happy....

But since it's Apple.... BASH!!!!

I'm sure somebody may have mentioned this already: aside from this being marketing fluff, I think they're just future-proofing their platform. Marketing just happened to latch onto the fact that it's a 64-bit OS, just like its big brother.

I also think they're implementing a strategy similar to Microsoft. I wouldn't be surprised if in a few years, iOS began running memory-intensive applications; similar to how you can run the same Windows 8 application on both a full-fledged desktop, and an ARM-based device.

But this will buy the average consumers. I have the hard time to explain to a lot of people that they don't need to install 64bit OS while they less than 4GB of memory. In their mind, the 64bit OS will run much faster than 32bit OS even with 4GB of memory. Also, most people think their phones come with 16/32GB of memory anyway lolz ....

I can see the idiots in line now. Our phone has a 64bit OS and yours doesn't. Then you ask them, what exactly does that mean, and they will say...I don't know.

What many have failed to comprehend from the article after reading your posts is this. 64bit basically helps with memory address. When you open an app on 64bit OS, it loads the app in twice the memory.

Question if your device doesn't have more memory to began with, then what advantage is it? Apple apps are forced to never use more than 50% of the available RAM. In this case the iPhone 5 and 5S so far are known to have 1GB of RAM.

For a PC, if your PC has 2GB of RAM, to run a 64bit OS, you need to at least double it to 4GB. If you do not, the OS will basically run slower or the same speed because it isn't address any more RAM than before.

The numbers doesn't mean anything. Its like saying I have the worlds fastest car, but I am still stuck in traffic doing the same speed as everyone else. In this context the faster car has no benefit. Its just that simple.

This is as lame as the lightning connector, as lame as moving the headphone jack to the bottom, as lame as making the SIM card smaller, as lame as raising the screen height by a 1/2". It as lame as Siri and all of the other lists of junk Apple had added.

Apples bragging about 64bit is such a joke. Here is what I don't understand about this whole setup. It was announce that iOS7 would support full multi-tasking. How can you with only 1GB of RAM. How many applications can you run inside 512MB of RAM? Based on todays tasks, not many.

In 512MB of RAM, you could run lots of services. In fact Windows XP could run over 30 services in only 256K of RAM. But on a phone where apps cant use more than 512 total, how many app you think you can open and run side by side? Maybe 3 or 4 depending on what they are?

Real phones have at least 2GB and Samsung has just went up top 3GB with what the new Note III can do. The iPhone 5 at $699 retail or $650 from Apple is roughly the same cost of a Note off contract at $699 and yet you cant even do as much. And look the Note doesn't have a 64Bit processor and yet it does way more than an iPhone.

This is crazy non-sense.

The main advantage for a 64-bit architecture is completely tied to memory addressing, specifically around the fact that it can address more than four gigabytes of memory

this is another common misconception.

Great write-up. Just want to add though, as a non-Apple fanboy though an owner of an iPad, iPhone 5S and 5C aren't bad when you consider the sum of their parts. I think we tend to mix in our feelings for a stubborn company like Apple with the feelings of the product they put out. 5S and 5C are pretty solid, which is just my opinion, but because this is Apple, we hold them to a higher standard. Sure you could argue why you go 'meh' at the reveal, but truth is these will sell like hotcakes.

I use a Lumia 925, and I will not switch. Though I like some things about iOS 7, Apple didn't make a good enough argument why I should switch. If you own a current flagship from Nokia, Samsung, LG or HTC -- you really have no reason to go back to iPhone 5S/C or try for the first time. It's more clear than ever Apple has been out-innovated. It's sour grapes and really personal for some here for whatever sad reason (read: get over it, get a life), but it's interesting to watch as a tech fan how the tide has changed. Just my thoughts.

What about those quad core phones? Who needs 4 cores in a phone?

Oh but you guys would be more happy when the time comes to have to wait for 64-bit support? What is the problem with Apple doing it now before the competition?

Also, what is the problem if this phone looks the same as the iPhone 5? Does every single new version of every possible phone on the market have to be different?

xWhiplash said,
What about those quad core phones? Who needs 4 cores in a phone?

Oh but you guys would be more happy when the time comes to have to wait for 64-bit support? What is the problem with Apple doing it now before the competition?

Also, what is the problem if this phone looks the same as the iPhone 5? Does every single new version of every possible phone on the market have to be different?


Quad-Core CPU's can be used in a good way at least. 64-bits OS'es and CPU's on smartphones can't be used to take advantage over 32-bits OS'es and CPU's today.

That's the difference.

And one more thing. Why are Apple so fast on releasing something that is totally useless today when they say they wont use NFC because it's useless to them?

LOL, Apple is going in the opposite direction of what they are saying and are shooting them self in the foot by using 64-bits OS'es and CPU's and not NFC.

So now people have a problem with companies pushing forward with technology? Today it does not do any good. But what about next year or two years from now? There will probably be a 4GB iPad or higher at some point. Who cares if Apple goes ahead and does it now vs when it was absolutely needed to?

Exynos said,

LOL, Apple is going in the opposite direction of what they are saying and are shooting them self in the foot by using 64-bits OS'es and CPU's and not NFC.

This comment, like most of the other comments here are based on a lack of understanding of both the industry and the positioning of Apple.

Today, Apple showed the world that in 6 years, it has taken ARM from a meager processor to a processor could replace the Intel chips in Apple's MacBook Air line as early as next year. Yes, that is just completely shooting themselves in the foot...

NFC, come on. There is a reason why this hasn't taken off in the industry: it's garbage. Apple's response to this: iBeacon. Read this and become more informed: http://gigaom.com/2013/09/10/w...ace-the-internet-of-things/.

Look at consoles. The Xbox One's performance, both graphics and processing power, will be eclipsed by an iPad shortly into it's life cycle. With the controller support coming in iOS 7, this poses a serious contender to rival against. Either AirPlay your game screen or use HDMI out to hookup to your living room setup or grab the iPad and controller for easy LAN parties.

Keep telling yourself that Apple is pushing out useless technology though...

owensd said,

This comment, like most of the other comments here are based on a lack of understanding of both the industry and the positioning of Apple.

Today, Apple showed the world that in 6 years, it has taken ARM from a meager processor to a processor could replace the Intel chips in Apple's MacBook Air line as early as next year. Yes, that is just completely shooting themselves in the foot...

NFC, come on. There is a reason why this hasn't taken off in the industry: it's garbage. Apple's response to this: iBeacon. Read this and become more informed: http://gigaom.com/2013/09/10/w...ace-the-internet-of-things/.

Look at consoles. The Xbox One's performance, both graphics and processing power, will be eclipsed by an iPad shortly into it's life cycle. With the controller support coming in iOS 7, this poses a serious contender to rival against. Either AirPlay your game screen or use HDMI out to hookup to your living room setup or grab the iPad and controller for easy LAN parties.

Keep telling yourself that Apple is pushing out useless technology though...


This is totally irrelevant for what i'm talking about. I'll give a damn about what Apple does in 4-6 years, i'll care about what Apple does today and next year.

And you haven't even given a single reason on why a 64-bit OS and CPU is supposed to be relevant for smartphones today or next year.

If you know what 64-bit is and the reason behind using it, you should know that Apple just released something that no one will take advantage on for many years. Apple are still using 1 GB RAM on their devices and a 64-bit CPU or OS wont be usefull before any of these devices gets 4GB or more with RAM.

And lastly, why are Apple saying NFC is not ready for the market yet on their phones and then at the same time add something to their phones that's absolutely not ready for the market yet within the next 2-3 years at least?

Why can't Apple add NFC to their phones at the same time then?

Um maybe because NFC requires some hardware to use it.

So you guys are saying there is absolutely.....NO POSSIBLE reason to use 64-bit OTHER than addressing memory?

Um....I have used 64-bit versions of Windows on computers that have 2 GB of ram.

What about the wider registers which have been shown to increase performance in calculations (games, encryption, ...)?

Exynos said,

This is totally irrelevant for what i'm talking about. I'll give a damn about what Apple does in 4-6 years, i'll care about what Apple does today and next year.

And you haven't even given a single reason on why a 64-bit OS and CPU is supposed to be relevant for smartphones today or next year.

Because, in that time frame, all applications will have been updated to 64-bit apps and they can completely kill the 32-bit apps. See Microsoft for exactly how to NOT transition over to 64-bit.

Exynos said,

If you know what 64-bit is and the reason behind using it, you should know that Apple just released something that no one will take advantage on for many years. Apple are still using 1 GB RAM on their devices and a 64-bit CPU or OS wont be usefull before any of these devices gets 4GB or more with RAM.

Can we stop already with the false premise that 64-bit is only good for addressing memory space? On the x64 side, you can create larger general purpose registers that allow for faster computations. I don't know the details of what Apple is doing with the A8 chip as it's not released.

So yes, a 64-bit app, especially a heavily computational one, can get speed improvements and power improvements (less time spent on the processor with fewer instructions).

Exynos said,

And lastly, why are Apple saying NFC is not ready for the market yet on their phones and then at the same time add something to their phones that's absolutely not ready for the market yet within the next 2-3 years at least?

Again. See how Apple migrated OS X to 64-bit. It takes time for developers to update their apps. When the 5c is obsolete (three years?), the entire ecosystem will have been converted over to 64-bit. At that time, Apple can safely kill off 32-bit support for iOS.

Exynos said,

Why can't Apple add NFC to their phones at the same time then?

Because NFC is garbage and has poor adoption across the ecosystem channels. There is not a compelling story of the majority of consumers to do it. It's a distraction with no long-term benefit.

That should be A7 above. And here's the wikipedia overview of the Armv8 (64-bit) updates.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...chitecture#ARMv8_and_64-bit


ARMv8 and 64-bit
Released in late 2011, ARMv8 represents a fundamental change to the ARM architecture. It adds a 64-bit architecture, named "AArch64", and a new "A64" instruction set. Within the context of ARMv8, the 32-bit architecture and instruction set are referred to as "AArch32" and "A32" respectively. The Thumb instruction sets are referred to as "T32" and have no 64-bit counterpart. ARMv8 allows 32-bit applications to be executed in a 64-bit OS, and a 32-bit OS to be under the control of a 64-bit hypervisor.[1] Applied Micro, AMD, Broadcom, Calxeda, HiSilicon, Samsung, ST Microelectronics and other companies have announced implementation plans.[51][52][53][54] ARM announced their Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 cores on 30 October 2012.[23] Apple announced on September 10, 2013 that the iPhone 5s will use the 64-bit ARMv8 Apple A7 SOC.
To both AArch32 and AArch64, ARMv8 makes VFPv3/v4 and advanced SIMD (NEON) standard. It also adds cryptography instructions supporting AES and SHA-1/SHA-256.
AArch64 features:
New instruction set, A64
Has 31 general-purpose 64-bit registers.
Separate dedicated SP and PC.
Instructions are still 32 bits long and mostly the same as A32 (with LDM/STM instructions and most conditional execution dropped).
Most instructions can take 32-bit or 64-bit arguments.
Addresses assumed to be 64-bit.
Advanced SIMD (NEON) enhanced
Has 32 × 128-bit registers (up from 16), also accessible via VFPv4.
Supports double-precision floating point.
Fully IEEE 754 compliant.
AES encrypt/decrypt and SHA-1/SHA-2 hashing instructions also use these registers.
A new exception system
Fewer banked registers and modes.
Memory translation from 48-bit virtual addresses based on the existing LPAE, which was designed to be easily extended to 64-bit

What Apple has added on top of that is yet to be known.

owensd said,

Because, in that time frame, all applications will have been updated to 64-bit apps and they can completely kill the 32-bit apps. See Microsoft for exactly how to NOT transition over to 64-bit.

And in the meantime any 32-bit applications will run slower on a 64-bit OS / CPU, because it have to be emulated as Neowin have told. So as per today or maybe next year, it will rather be a downside by going this way now. Apple should have rather waited until the market are more ready for it in the same way as they are waiting to use NFC until the market are ready for it.

owensd said,

Can we stop already with the false premise that 64-bit is only good for addressing memory space? On the x64 side, you can create larger general purpose registers that allow for faster computations. I don't know the details of what Apple is doing with the A8 chip as it's not released.

So yes, a 64-bit app, especially a heavily computational one, can get speed improvements and power improvements (less time spent on the processor with fewer instructions).

This applies to the most CPU heavily apps out there like 3D and rendering apps. For normal apps like Firefox, Winamp or other small apps, you wont see or feel any differences. So the question is rather, how usefull will this be for smartphones and tablets in the longer run (except for the 4 GB limit thingie)?

owensd said,

Again. See how Apple migrated OS X to 64-bit. It takes time for developers to update their apps. When the 5c is obsolete (three years?), the entire ecosystem will have been converted over to 64-bit. At that time, Apple can safely kill off 32-bit support for iOS.

Yes it's a long and painfull process by going from 32 to 64-bits apps. I agree that this have to be done at some point and it's needed, but as for today, having a 64-bit OS and CPU on the newest iPhones have absolutely no advantages for the normal user. So for the iPhone 5C & 5S's case, it's not an advantage to have that over other 32-bit phones today. So it's not an argument to use to buy an iPhone 5C / 5S over other smartphones. It's that simple.

owensd said,

Because NFC is garbage and has poor adoption across the ecosystem channels. There is not a compelling story of the majority of consumers to do it. It's a distraction with no long-term benefit.

Just because it's garbage and poor to you it doesn't mean it is that in any ways. Alot of peoples use NFC daily and see the benefits of that as i do to. A smartphone is something you have with you everywhere and the lessser you have to carry around with you the better it is, so using the phone to pay instead of carrying alot of credit cards around with you and so on will be better for the general users in the long run.

Exynos said,
And in the meantime any 32-bit applications will run slower on a 64-bit OS / CPU, because it have to be emulated as Neowin have told. So as per today or maybe next year, it will rather be a downside by going this way now. Apple should have rather waited until the market are more ready for it in the same way as they are waiting to use NFC until the market are ready for it.

No, that's the problem. This is article is incorrect on basically everything it stated. There is no emulation that needs to happen to make this work causing performance degredation for 32bit apps. This is how Windows solved the problem for their OS/kernel on Intel chips, not a universal truth for all platforms and architectures... besides the performance cost being fairly negligible to start with.

Exynos said,

This applies to the most CPU heavily apps out there like 3D and rendering apps. For normal apps like Firefox, Winamp or other small apps, you wont see or feel any differences. So the question is rather, how usefull will this be for smartphones and tablets in the longer run (except for the 4 GB limit thingie)?

So because calculator cannot take advantage of it, it shouldn't be done? Got it.

Exynos said,

Yes it's a long and painfull process by going from 32 to 64-bits apps. I agree that this have to be done at some point and it's needed, but as for today, having a 64-bit OS and CPU on the newest iPhones have absolutely no advantages for the normal user. So for the iPhone 5C & 5S's case, it's not an advantage to have that over other 32-bit phones today. So it's not an argument to use to buy an iPhone 5C / 5S over other smartphones. It's that simple.

It is that simple. In two years, it will be a huge platform advantage to have the entire iOS and OS X platform unified at 64-bit. Increased cohesion between the platforms increases developer productivity on both, which keeps developers building for their platform and people to keep buying new products built on that platform.

Exynos said,

Just because it's garbage and poor to you it doesn't mean it is that in any ways. Alot of peoples use NFC daily and see the benefits of that as i do to. A smartphone is something you have with you everywhere and the lessser you have to carry around with you the better it is, so using the phone to pay instead of carrying alot of credit cards around with you and so on will be better for the general users in the long run.

It's supported in very few places and by very few companies, that's why it's poor. If you happen to have the right set of compatible points, then sure, it could be nice for you. NFC has been around for 7 years and isn't really gaining any momentum. Maybe this is the year for it though.

Unless EVERY place supports NFC, you'll still need to carry all your cards. Maybe carry less to begin with?

owensd said,

No, that's the problem. This is article is incorrect on basically everything it stated. There is no emulation that needs to happen to make this work causing performance degredation for 32bit apps. This is how Windows solved the problem for their OS/kernel on Intel chips, not a universal truth for all platforms and architectures... besides the performance cost being fairly negligible to start with.

Do you have ANY evidences to show us that it will be working the same way for ARM CPU's as it does with Intel and AMD CPU's?

Just because it works with Intel CPU's doesn't automaticly means it will work the same on other CPU's.

owensd said,

So because calculator cannot take advantage of it, it shouldn't be done? Got it.

Still not an argument to choose the iPhone 5C or 5S over other smartphones.

owensd said,

It is that simple. In two years, it will be a huge platform advantage to have the entire iOS and OS X platform unified at 64-bit. Increased cohesion between the platforms increases developer productivity on both, which keeps developers building for their platform and people to keep buying new products built on that platform.

In 2-3 years every other smartphones will be 64-bit and will have adopted to that anyways, so that's not the case here. It's pretty funny if you think Apple is the only company to use 64-bit CPU's in their devices in 2 years.

The case is about today and next year. What advantage will you get now by buying an iPhone 5S with a 64-bit OS and CPU over a Samsung Galaxy S4 with a 32-bit OS and CPU?

The answer is nothing.

Because this process of going from 32 to 64-bit will take so long time, the iPhone 5C and 5S will be from the stone age when 64-bit have been adopted to the market anyways. So that's the reasons the 64-bit fuss shouldn't be an argument today to buy an iPhone 5C or 5S over other 32-bit smartphones.

owensd said,

It's supported in very few places and by very few companies, that's why it's poor. If you happen to have the right set of compatible points, then sure, it could be nice for you. NFC has been around for 7 years and isn't really gaining any momentum. Maybe this is the year for it though.

Unless EVERY place supports NFC, you'll still need to carry all your cards. Maybe carry less to begin with?

Someone are still using it and more and more use it every day. Why shouldn't we be allowed to decide if we want to use it or not?

What happens if i live in a place with ALOT of NFC choices?

Because of that, it's better to just support it rather than limiting everyone just because someone doesn't see the need for it. Not only that, the NFC usage will NEVER expand if no one is going to use that on the phones. So what Apple does is to limit the usage of NFC so they can have a reason not to use it.

This will hurt the customers and those who offers NFC for the peoples. But thankfully the Android phone makers sees the need of their customers rather than what the companies thinks of them self.

What do you think would have happened if Android had gone the same way as Microsoft did with Windows Phone by limiting what hardware you could use on their phones?

Android would never grow any big at all then. Google saw early that limiting where their OS could be used would rather hurt the market and their customers. So they didn't go that way.

Apple should have gone the same way as Google and actually think about their customers worldwide more instead of being such of a nazi when it comes to this kind of things.

Limiting alot of things will only hurt the market and the customers.

Edited by Exynos, Sep 11 2013, 10:35pm :

What a pathetic article don't turn this site into a troll cave.

All companies do this it is just marketing 101 trying to expose a feature as a selling point.

Improvements in technology are awesome. Improved performance and better battery life are always welcome...well, unless they are from Apple. God you guys are hate-tarded.

True, 64-bit doesn't mean much now, but in a year or two it will be completely ubiquitous. You won't even consider buying hardware that isn't 64-bit. Next year when every high end Android handset will be rocking 64-bit I'm sure you will be calling that marketing hype as well.

It's really sad that a "tech" website would publish garbage like this. Do you really think that the only reason for 64bit is to be able to use more than 4GB of memory? One of the things it faster is complex math operations, guess what does a LOT of math? GAMES! And guess what people download the most on mobile phones? Yup...games.

Also it will run 32bit apps just fine (and faster than an iPhone 5 or 5C would), and for developers, compiling the app with Xcode5 will make it 64bit with little or no work required.

I agree that we should take apple's 64'bit thing with a grain of salt. They have provided ZERO details.

But damn, the article mixes concepts supporting claims on a damn stack overflow post?

The benefits of 64 bits depend on the platform and how the OS makes use of the features. The article and the comments are mixing complete ignorance towards ARM 64 bits, and the peculiarities of windows x64_86 and even itanium?

I stopped reading after the "emulation layer". 32-bit code doesnt have an emulation layer on x86_64 CPUs. They just RUN. NATIVELY. its mixing 32bit and 64bit code on the same OS that may require to load the same libraries for both x86 and x86_64. Which by itself only implies more stuff on memory, not lower performance per se.

This editorial is fluff. You provide no compelling argument was to why we don't need a 64 bit chip, a chip that will be used in Android and Windows Phone devices within a year, ever in a phone.

Apple has also done a great job confusing people on the differences between on-phone storage and system memory.

How so? Apple only talks about on phone storage, and never (if so, rarely) talks about system memory. Go look at the tech specs for their phones. It doesn't even mention the system memory, or even the clock speed of the A chips. The confusion is from tech illiterate people staying tech illiterate.

Many iPhone (and we suspect Android and Windows Phone) users think that when they purchase a 32GB phone, that it has 32 gigabytes of memory and are surprised to learn that the iPhone 5 only had 1GB of system RAM.

Sources? No? Figured. But, pretending what you say is true, if many Android and Windows Phone users think that, then how come only Apple gets called out for it? Apple doesn't make Lumias.

This is getting really old. The bashing of other platforms without researching anything just to bait. I mean, I'm not creaming my pants over a 64 bit chip in an iPhone, nor am I rallying against it. Phone technology is rapidly advancing to the point where it will soon be on par with its desktop cousin. Going 64 bit is the obvious direction that EVERYONE is going in (what? I thought we all liked competition), but all of the sudden it's marketing fluff because Apple gets to yell, "FIRST!" ? Child please.


omgben said,
This editorial is fluff. You provide no compelling argument was to why we don't need a 64 bit chip, a chip that will be used in Android and Windows Phone devices within a year, ever in a phone.

You're right, I don't. Want to know why? Because I have no problem with putting a 64-bit architecture in a phone. But Apple is marketing the 64-bit platform as a huge advantage and trying to equate the 64-bit architecture as a performance improvement for their phone. It's no coincidence that their marketing slide lists 64-bit architecture first and "2x speed improvement" right underneath. And THAT is marketing fluff.

Fezmid said,

You're right, I don't. Want to know why? Because I have no problem with putting a 64-bit architecture in a phone. But Apple is marketing the 64-bit platform as a huge advantage and trying to equate the 64-bit architecture as a performance improvement for their phone. It's no coincidence that their marketing slide lists 64-bit architecture first and "2x speed improvement" right underneath. And THAT is marketing fluff.

Maybe wait for benchmarks before you dismiss it as a marketing claim?


Many iPhone (and we suspect Android and Windows Phone) users think that when they purchase a 32GB phone, that it has 32 gigabytes of memory and are surprised to learn that the iPhone 5 only had 1GB of system RAM.

This is the most ridiculous quote I've ever seen. You actually thing people, and "many" of them will be dissapointed with how much memory their phone has? The people that know the difference between storage and RAM will do their research. To the rest it will not matter.

Is it me, or did they miss one important ingredient: the word "magical". If it doesn't have "magical" in it, I refuse to buy it. Well, maybe the iPhone 5M will have it :-)

There's the theory that 64-bits is only valuable for addressing more memory, then there's the real world performance and stability ... oh nevermind. Theoretically that's just imagination or the result of addressing more memory ... Of course, Windows Phones and Tablets sill support 64-bit soon, may there will be more real benefits then. Since some of the things Microsoft believes about 64-bit computing (not directed at phones) are that:

A 64-bit architecture provides more and wider general-purpose registers, which contribute to greater overall application speed. When there are more registers, there is less need to write persistent data to memory and then have to read it back just a few instructions later. Function calls are also faster in a 64-bit environment because as many as four arguments at a time can be passed in registers to a function.

Poor performance in 32-bit systems is often not the result of a lack of available memory, but the unavailability of large enough blocks of continuous memory. In a typical Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 deployment, Windows, Internet Information Services (IIS), common language runtime (CLR), ASP.NET, SharePoint Products and Technologies, SSPs, and MDACs can all claim a portion of a server's available virtual memory and can leave a 32-bit address space quite fragmented. When the CLR or SharePoint services request new memory blocks, it can be difficult to find a 64-MB segment in the crowded 32-bit address space. A 64-bit system offers practically unlimited address space for user mode processes.

A server that is using 32-bit architecture is limited to 32 CPUs. Improvements in parallel processing and bus architectures enable 64-bit environments to support as many as 64 processors and provide almost linear scalability with each additional processor.

All the benefits of 64-bit operation that are listed in the previous sections enable you to do more with less. A 64-bit environment allows you to manage more data, serve more users, and run more applications while using less hardware.

Ah, remember the arguments about 64 bit processor when they came to desktop PCs? No? Maybe go look them up.

Even if they find no conceivable way to use a 64 bit processor on this phone... I can guarantee they will in the near future. Not to mention, this makes every new Apple product 64 bit, certainly a benefit for developers.

There is a benefit to using 64-bit on less than 4GBs of RAM. 64-bit gives you the full address space to use for virtual memory, which means that the OS might be limited to 1GB of RAM but it can spread it throughout the entire 64-bit address space. Why does this help? Because security features like ASLR rely on making it harder to guess the address of code, and/or fill up the RAM to randomly overwrite a useful address in order to attack the phone and compromise it with malware. Guessing the right address or filling up the RAM becomes impractical with 64-bit. It's not going to rock the average person's world, but it is certainly something I like to see done, as someone who tries to spread a pro-secure user experience message.

notice how apple copied Microsoft once again,not only with the inspiration of ios7,and the colorful phones, but in the presentation. looked to me like the xbox one reveal. ONE BILLION TRANSISTORS. marketing the die size to apple fans?

vcfan said,
notice how apple copied Microsoft once again,not only with the inspiration of ios7,and the colorful phones, but in the presentation. looked to me like the xbox one reveal. ONE BILLION TRANSISTORS. marketing the die size to apple fans?

They've always brought up tech specs in their press conferences. Every company does that.

If Apple were really copying Microsoft, they would be changing their mind every five minutes about what their product can do, and make you buy a new phone every time a new version of the OS came out. Windows 6>7>8.

Joking aside, keep telling yourself that Microsoft invented the color wheel and minimalist design. Metro and iOS 7 are two very different design philosophies, and Apple has released colorful iDevices over the last few decades, but I don't think you will ever understand that because huuurrdeeduurr Microsoft is #1!

Edited by benthebear, Sep 11 2013, 12:56pm :

They copy each other. The candy colored products can go back to iMacs, and Jobs is the king of the overstated reveal. I do think they did as much as they could to give a Metro like feel to iOS 7 though, I believe they failed, but it is an improvement.

MorganX said,
They copy each other. The candy colored products can go back to iMacs, and Jobs is the king of the overstated reveal. I do think they did as much as they could to give a Metro like feel to iOS 7 though, I believe they failed, but it is an improvement.

sure they did use colors in the past in past products. this isn't my point. they didn't do it in phones because they were all about that premium look and recognition. once nokia showed them how it can be done with plastic, then they did it. not just them, everyone is doing it. look at moto x.

omgben said,

keep telling yourself that Microsoft invented the color wheel and minimalist design. Metro and iOS 7 are two different design philosophies, but I don't think you will ever understand that because huuurrdeeduurr Microsoft is #1!

its just a coincidence apple and google started going flat and minimalistic? no, they are followers,plain and simple,and its blatantly obvious.

No one is following Microsoft, specially Windows Phone. That's just absurd. Like the guy said, if they did, they would backtrack on every decision they made.

While the 32 to 64 bit change may not be needed right now, the processor is much faster regardless of architecture. Thats not marketing. Is the speed really necessary? I don't know. However, the M7 chip is a huge thing for activity tracking. Maybe with it I can use Nike+ running and then not have to charge my phone immediately after.

The reason is actually pretty obvious. It's probably 12-18 months until an android phone or tablet that actually does decide to push the 4GB limit. The specs arms race is very much still active in android devices. If Android switches to 64bit before Apple it would be used as bragging rights.

On the other hand, if you're using 64bit ahead of time, even when you don't need to, you get to say "Look, we've had that for ages".

When I ran Windows XP Professional X64 Edition back in 2005, the amount of RAM you could cheaply was 512 to 1 GBs of RAM. Was it marketing fluff then?

Also, my first Vista 64 bit system only had 2 GBs of RAM.

Microsoft also said that 32 bit apps could get a 9 percent performance boost by just running on a 64 bit processor and 64 bit Windows at the same time.

At the end of the day, its not just about memory.

Thank you, Mr. Dee! I also crossgraded (personally) to Vista x64 with just 2 GB - Mom crossgraded (from 7 x32 to 7 x64) with half that. Regrets in either case - none. I have just 4 GB of RAM today, and I quad-boot Windows 8.1 (RTM), Server 2012R2 (RTM), OS X 10.8.4, and OS X 10.9 DP4 (all bare-metal; four partitions on two HDDs). The CPU isn't modern, either; it's the Intel Q6600 - the original Intel dual-dual that AMD made all those scathing jokes about. Dead? Yes - by four generations. Irrelevant? Hardly - look at that bare-metal OS list again; three are current, and one (Mavericks) is still in beta. That is what is called staying power. (Because the CPU is still relevant for modern software - OS and applications - it's not choking up a landfill, which can't be said for most phones the same age as the Q6600 - smart or otherwise.) That is the REAL advantage of x64, be it in devices or any other hardware - it has a longer relevancy.

Almost all of the people who are looking at buying the new iPhone 5S will not read this editorial here on NeoWin so what is this post really about? Apple bashing? It looks like Apple bashing. Apple have made a step forward that no one else has and this should be commended. In the end everyone wins because Apple is pushing the envelope.

lol hardly, MS is pushing the envelope, there NT kernel can support upto 64 cores in windows phone, thats unification right there and all theyd have to do is "flip a switch" and it'd turn into a 64bit OS most likely with all the ground work all ready there, they are ready to go. So in my opinion apple is still playing catch up. Android well... that wont be good till youve got a quatum computer running in the phone!!!

People say oh windows phone is rubbish but its already completely unified across phone table OS so that is why theyve done what theyve done and NT is built upon decades of work transitioning from like win2k (or whenever it was first released) to what it is today. So dont say oh apple are amazing theyre the first etc.... the only thing apple are first in is producing over priced stuff that people blindly buy. There 5c is a bloody joke at them prices to, dunno what there aim is for that

Future proofing, plain and simple. When they launch a device in the future, with enough memory to require 64-bit addressing, they will have an app store of software ready to go.

Maybe the iPhone does not need 64bit, but since Apple is unifying all the architecture, think about the iPad... There is bigger and more demanding Apps running on the iPad, apps that would probably benefit from a move to 64bit.

And for some application, the move to 64bit does bring a speed increase, if done right. The CPU is able to compute more data at the same clock rate.

But the thing that bugs me the most : WHY whine and b*tch about a smartphone moving to 64bit? It's like you don't want any kind of evolution. NA! 32bit is just fine.... It's like saying that 640K was more than enough...

TruckWEB said,
But the thing that bugs me the most : WHY whine and b*tch about a smartphone moving to 64bit? It's like you don't want any kind of evolution. NA! 32bit is just fine.... It's like saying that 640K was more than enough...

I didn't say that at all. But why try confusing normal users by making it sound like 64-bit is a reason to upgrade? Marketing.

I'm patiently waiting for Samsung's reply: "We got 64 bits, AND hexacosioi-cores in our phones!"

The smartphone market has become nothing more than a **** sizing contest. -_-

Dot Matrix said,
The smartphone market has become nothing more than a **** sizing contest. -_-

Wow, just wow. I thought it would never happen, but I totally agree with you!

Samsung next flagship phone will be 64-bit and they'll announce it with much fanfare. But then they'll neglect to mention Android or any of their apps will actually utilize it and are still 32-bit.

.Neo said,
Samsung next flagship phone will be 64-bit and they'll announce it with much fanfare. But then they'll neglect to mention Android or any of their apps will actually utilize it and are still 32-bit.

At the pace they are bumping up the specs they might couple the 64bits processor with 8GB of RAM, so there it might make sense even while not being all that usefull on a phone.

ichi said,
At the pace they are bumping up the specs they might couple the 64bits processor with 8GB of RAM, so there it might make sense even while not being all that usefull on a phone.

Don't forget the side facing camera, 1200ppi screen and Dynamic Core Multiplier Technology.

Enron said,
They might have 64 bits, but they don't have blast processing or Mode 7 graphics.

But it will have a turbo button to take it from 2.66 GHz to 3.33 GHz.

This is such a horrendously terrible article... I'll simply comment on this:

"We're also curious to see what will happen to Apple's app store. Android has long been criticized for market fragmentation - different devices, different screens, different operating systems. How will Apple handle developers who create 64-bit applications? Will they be forced to compile for both 32-bit and 64-bit, and the phone itself will decide which version of the app to download? We're sure Apple has some plan to make this transparent to users, but it will be interesting to see it in action."

You see, Apple has, for years now, been having developers build binaries that contain multiple architectures in them - commonly referred to as "fat binaries" or "universal binaries". This is ALREADY happening today as there are two instruction sets commonly compiled to for the app store (armv7s and armv7). Now, there is simply a third: arm64.

So yes, developers will compile for both (really, three now) because they want to sell to all of the iOS 7 devices they can.

The size of the general purpose registers is also a key to the number.

When it comes to x86, the 64-bit architecture not only doubles the width of the registers but also doubles the amount of registers. The total amount of register space is four times as large.
So on a x86 machine, 64-bit code can be much more effecient but the real difference between ARMv7 and ARMv8 is not known to me. I've never played around with assembly language for ARM.

The numbers game works both ways I find. You have Samsung (as an example) who have octacore phones, 8 cores (I think) and everyone is like wow, that's amazing and seeing the lines blur between pc's and phones because it's a relatable set of figures. Im trying to find a really nice explanation of the benefits of 64 bits that I had the other day and thought, ah... I'll bookmark that.

64 bit isn't a waste of time surely that's like saying well 32 bit was good enough let's keep it at that. At what point is the choice made to move forward?

It's what developers do with the extra pipelines to read memory references, process that information which will make a 64bit cpu a hit or miss.

Are there any actual iOS developers who could chime in on this?

Found The Link: What the 64bit Cpu in the iPhone 5s really means in plain english
http://thenextweb.com/apple/20...sor-means-in-plain-english/

Edited by shifts, Sep 11 2013, 10:30am :

last time i know you arent going to be doing any real time rendering in 3ds max or doing raytracing stuff on a phone. if the point in it is to try to unify there stuff like to make it easier over the next 10 years by getting ground work in now fair enough. but 64bit as a selling point on a phone or tablet is crazy. Surface 2 is fine seeing as that is basically a PC capable of doing the heavy lifting jobs of the most demanding programs, ipad + iphones dont come any where close and a 64bit os isnt going to change that.

Agreed however we don't know whats around the corner. You can bet that gravity engine in iOS7 is pretty darn intensive and what about Infinity Blade 3, surely that's got to be benefited by 64 bit addressing?

I'd be happy to say 100% that this isn't marketing fluff. I'd say that it's testing for an upcoming device which will need it.

Or, you don't know if they M7 or other bits in there only support 64 bit. Why waste your time writing 32 bit drivers when you know that your devices will require 64 bit support (i.e. 4GB of RAM in an iPad anyone?) in the near future.

I think Apple is preparing to roll out Windows 8 on their phones next year so they wanted to run the 64 bit version.

64-bit = more power = more speed. Simple. 32-bit is so 1990s. Okay, it's a phone, but just imagine Photoshop quality effects in seconds. Or games running at full Retina resultion. Technology has to keep on moving forward.

<snipped> Apple got there first (again)! Just wait a few weeks - I bet Samsung and Nokia will announce 64-bit phones too.

Edited by Eric, Sep 11 2013, 12:37pm :

Well Apple didn't invent 64bit platform.And in what else did they get first? I don't remember anything.I only remember them doing things their competitors did years before,and just gave new names to those things to make people believe they invented everything.

are you bloody stupid.... if games run so much faster on a 64bit OS why are games still coded in 32 bit? doesnt make much difference tbh. Photoshop quality effects and resolution of apps and games relies solely on cpu/gpu speed. sure 64bit photoshop can work faster but thats only becuase the 64 bit os gives it more addressable space to use

68k said,
I bet Samsung and Nokia will announce 64-bit phones too.

You're right, they probably will -- because otherwise Apple will say, "Our competitors don't have 64-bit processors" in their marketing literature. Like I said, marketing fluff.

Games are still coded in x32 because most games (if you are referring to PCs) still have XP32 as a minimum. Look at the adoption rates of every Windows OS since XP (and I'm including Windows 8) - x64 has outstripped x32 in every case. Only XP32 has any sort of lead over its x64 partner, and that is entirely because XP64 lagged WAY behind XP32 in shipments - and XP64 was given away (literally - XP64 was free for the downloading from Microsoft).

possible that apple is planning on releasing the next iPad with 4gb of ram, and they'll be using the A7x (x for more graphics cores) which could be part of the reason they have made it 64bit? Definitely clutching at straws for the 5S upgrades, fingerprint sensor, better camera and faster, hardly a years worth of work.

anthdci said,
possible that apple is planning on releasing the next iPad with 4gb of ram, and they'll be using the A7x (x for more graphics cores) which could be part of the reason they have made it 64bit? Definitely clutching at straws for the 5S upgrades, fingerprint sensor, better camera and faster, hardly a years worth of work.

It isn't just any fingerprint sensor. Compare the small-bar-type fingerprint sensors on many PC notebooks (which you have to swipe several times to get a proper result) to Apple's. Put simply, the latter will be a step ahead of everything on the market.

68k said,

It isn't just any fingerprint sensor. Compare the small-bar-type fingerprint sensors on many PC notebooks (which you have to swipe several times to get a proper result) to Apple's. Put simply, the latter will be a step ahead of everything on the market.

With all the hype of the fingerprint sensor, keep in mind two things:

1) Apple did not develop this, it bought it.
2) The fingerprint function is not available for the apps, themselves. So no banking or password vault applications.

68k said,

It isn't just any fingerprint sensor. Compare the small-bar-type fingerprint sensors on many PC notebooks (which you have to swipe several times to get a proper result) to Apple's. Put simply, the latter will be a step ahead of everything on the market.

Put simply, it's from Apple so you like it more. Question: How did you compare them? How do you know how good this one will work? Personal experience? Speaking of which, I usually don't have to swipe several times when using my fingerprint scanner. Used one in the last few years?

frett said,
2) The fingerprint function is not available for the apps, themselves. So no banking or password vault applications.

Really? Then why even bother?

68k said,

It isn't just any fingerprint sensor. Compare the small-bar-type fingerprint sensors on many PC notebooks (which you have to swipe several times to get a proper result) to Apple's. Put simply, the latter will be a step ahead of everything on the market.

This will be coming out on Windows devices in the very near future as well, based on what we heard at TechEd. http://www.neowin.net/news/win...ometrics-for-authentication

derekaw said,
Not yet, just wait. This could be the start of the most robust mobile payment platform ever.

I'm not sure about that. Fingerprint sensors have been fooled over and over through a myriad of methods, and unlike your PIN you can't change your fingerprints (other than through surgery, maybe).

It also doesn't help that the very biometric data you need to unlock the phone can often be readily available from your own fingerprints on your phone's screen.

They said the sensor scans non-visible and sub-dermal features of the finger - I think using infrared. No way a scan like that can faked as easily as you say. The idea of stealing a fingerprint off the device surface itself is particularly unsound - surely the scan was designed to be deeper and more accurate than what can be replicated from a dusted fingerprint, given how obvious such a ploy would be.

Also, the fingerprint scan is optional. So if a PIN number is more secure or easier than a fast and reliable fingerprint scan, you can use a PIN - but I have a hard time imagining any situation where a PIN would make more sense.

I love how if 64-bit had come first in an Android device, everyone and their mother would be flaming Apple TO THE GROUND for being behind.

However, now that the 'competition' brought it, we are reasonable again! Oh, welcome back reason!

In the meantime lets keep celebrating stuff like 8 cores, or 3gb of ram ON SMARTPHONES.

/rant

An Android fan.

PD: the quote in the picture is priceless! Lol!

Good editorial.. To be honest.. people who like Applewill always buy iPhones even if Apple churns out the same phone with a higher version number and small change like fingerprint sensor.. They just like it the way it is and they will buy it.. The parody video posted earlier is true in every essence.

64 bit processors on phones at least is more or less useless unless it comes with 4 gigs of memory or more..

psreloaded said,
64 bit processors on phones at least is more or less useless unless it comes with 4 gigs of memory or more..

This isn't Windows. Not all 32-bit operating systems are affected by the same limitations.

Yes they are. All 32-bit operating systems can only see 32 bits worth of address space at one time. It's simple math.

GreyWolf said,
Yes they are. All 32-bit operating systems can only see 32 bits worth of address space at one time. It's simple math.

Simply wrong! Have a look at PAE, Windows Server used that for ages, as do other systems. In fact Windows Server 2003 (32bit) can address 128GB of RAM!

And it's not true even in the case of Windows - and it never has been. The minimum RAM requirement for Windows Server 2012R2 is all of 2 GB of RAM. XP64 would install and run in a mere 512 MB; I have, in fact, done so, more than once. The minimums for every Windows x64 desktop OS since XP64 merely doubled - to 1 GB. (Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1 - in other words, the RAM requirements for x64 merely since Vista have remained unchanged/flat.) By moving to an x32/x64 hybrid model - similar to OS X - Apple is actually making things somewhat easier for iOS developers to transition (remember, Xcode - the preferred IDE for iOS development and OS X development - already supports x64, as OS X universal-binaries largely are already).

PAE is not as fast as native 64 bit memory addressing.. and its not a windows specific thing..

Plus the processors need to support pae for the OS to use it which I am not sure if the mobile processors do or not..

psreloaded said,
PAE is not as fast as native 64 bit memory addressing.. and its not a windows specific thing..

Never claimed that, but the simple fact that servers are/were regularly using PAE should be an indication that the speed can't be too bad…

psreloaded said,

Plus the processors need to support pae for the OS to use it which I am not sure if the mobile processors do or not..

PAE dates back to the Pentium Pro…

At this time 64bit has no benefit on todays hardware but it does prepare for future hardware and gets developers to write code in 64bit. Market hype, yes but not useless in the long run.

64-bit processor, with 2GB of Ram? Useless tbh. 64bit ARM processors had to arrive soon or later, but at the moment no phone benefits from this.... tablets maybe, if we see some of them with 4GB+ of RAM next year...

Not so useless - it hasn't been useless on Windows x64 (even as far back as XP64). The legend STILL persists that 64-bit demands MUCH greater amounts of RAM then 32-bit - that has never been true - in any OS. While it IS true that a hybrid (x32/x64) OS will require more RAM than a pure OS (of either bitness), the extra amount is - at worst - fifty percent of the minimum amount of the lower bitness. Most x64 operating systems (including all in non-hyperniche usage today) are, in fact, hybrids - even OS X, which will normally only run on x64 CPUs (as of Mountain Lion) is still a hybrid, even with Mavericks. The REAL key will be managing the transition to x64 - neither Apple OR Microsoft has had it all that easy with their desktop OSes, and it is no easier outside of OS X or Windows (I'm actually talking UNIX - such as Solaris - as opposed to merely Linux distributions and the BSDs) - there WILL be those with a major case of "not-going-to-move".

64bit require more RAM, there is no way around the fact that pointers are twice their size compared to 32bit…

The major benefit of AMD64 apart from the bigger address space was the extension of registers in the CPU, but that's a x86 specific thing and has nothing to do how ARM designs 64bit CPUs!

MFH said,
64bit require more RAM, there is no way around the fact that pointers are twice their size compared to 32bit…

The major benefit of AMD64 apart from the bigger address space was the extension of registers in the CPU, but that's a x86 specific thing and has nothing to do how ARM designs 64bit CPUs!

Partially true...

(This is a very non-technical answer, as I'm trying to make it easy to understand for everyone reading this.)

OSes like Windows x64 don't allocate the full 64bits unless the additional bits are actually used. It also can 'save' memory use with 32bit processes as it can store multiple chunks of 32bit allocated memory into a single 64bit space.

This is why there is not a massive difference in RAM allocation for Windows x64 compared to Windows x86.

Additionally there are more 64bit advantages to AArch64 (Arm 64bit) than larger and more registers.

Here is a more technical article I had in my favorites on Arm 64bit from last year.
http://www.realworldtech.com/arm64/

Microsoft has been working on support ARM 64bit for over a year now, with plans for both WP8/9, Windows RT, and Windows Server 64bit ARM support. There are a few good technical articles on why this matters and how AArch64 increases performance.

(I'm sure the iPhone world think Apple design or invented ARM 64bit. Ironically it is Microsoft that had a role in the design.)


Regarding the iPhone...

I have no information on how iOS is using 64bit ARM, and knowing Apple, would be shocked they are going to provide a well done partial, let alone full 64bit experience with iOS.

Also knowing how iOS is designed, it would require a massive redesign of the kernel and framework to properly support Arm 64bit, which I cannot see Apple doing as it would break most Apps.

(This is where Windows NT has an advantage, as it is written to its own architecture (not x86, x64, ARM, etc). Using this model, the HAL can adapt to fully take advantage of a new architecture without major code changes in the NT OS/Kernel.)

Edited by Mobius Enigma, Sep 11 2013, 12:42pm :

myxomatosis said,
64-bit processor, with 2GB of Ram? Useless tbh. 64bit ARM processors had to arrive soon or later, but at the moment no phone benefits from this.... tablets maybe, if we see some of them with 4GB+ of RAM next year...

There is no indication that the iPhone 5S or 5C have changed from the regular iPhone 5 model which contains only 1GB of Ram. Not sure where you saw 2GB of Ram at...

I agreed with that - however, it's not THAT much more; there's plenty of real-world data to back that up, and most of it from outside of Windows (though even the Windows data agrees with it). Also, memory (even for smartphones) is still relatively inexpensive compared to merely five years ago (the beginning of the smartphone explosion).

"Apple has also done a great job confusing people on the differences between on-phone storage and system memory."

No they haven't, this is one of the biggest misconceptions with computer illiterate folk and always has been.. To this day i still get asked questions about memory, and increasing memory and so on when in actual fact they are talking about disk space. "I need more memory" usually means their hard disk is full.

I don't see how it's Apple's fault, or how it's their responsibility to put people straight, to be honest.. i don't think anyone that isn't a number loving techy is going to be interested in that spec at all, so yes, maybe it was just a bit of a marketing gimmick.


"The higher clock speed of the A7 will probably more than make up for the very slight reduction in performance, but it's still something to keep in mind."

Why is it something to keep in mind if performance is better? who cares whats what as long as it's faster? and it absolutely will be.

"We're sure Apple has some plan to make this transparent to users, but it will be interesting to see it in action."

Correct, so it's another moot point.. They aren't going to alienate anyone considering they want to make as much money as possible from the App store, forcing people to upgrade to x64 for apps isn't going to work, not everyone can afford a shiny new phone, but everyone can afford a few quid for some apps.

I know it's an editorial from a tech point of view but in the real world a lot of your argument is invalid, and im just being devils advocate

Uplift said,
I know it's an editorial from a tech point of view but in the real world a lot of your argument is invalid, and im just being devils advocate

My only real beef with the 5S announcement is that Apple is touting 64-bit architecture to its customers when, like you noted, they don't know the difference between memory and storage, let alone computer architecture. But they're doing it because 64 is twice as big as 32, and customers are buying it hook, line, and sinker.

The advantage isn't in the increased register size, it's in ARMv8 and the architectural benefits these cores have over current ARMv7-a designs.

WingZero said,
The advantage isn't in the increased register size, it's in ARMv8 and the architectural benefits these cores have over current ARMv7-a designs.

Yup, and I think I called that out in the article. But Apple is trying to convince people that 64-bit is why it's better, not the new processor itself, and that's the part that's fluff.

I bet Apple will push developers to make their apps only 64-bit so it will only run on the iPhone 5S. The result is that sales of iPhone 5S will get higher.

So instead of making older devices slow as people said before will they now make apps not work on older devices. Good job.

You say "Good job" as if your suspicion has already been proven accurate. I would hold off to see if that actually becomes the case before you sarcastically congratulate Apple on a "good job."

Niekess said,
I bet Apple will push developers to make their apps only 64-bit so it will only run on the iPhone 5S. The result is that sales of iPhone 5S will get higher.

So instead of making older devices slow as people said before will they now make apps not work on older devices. Good job.

So you think the iPhone 5C, that's being released at the same time as the 5S, will be phased out immediately due to lack of 64bit?

I'm not buying it.

Probably could do a little more investigation into where 64 bit architecture can provide benefits over just 'more than 4GB memory'?

Not that I personally think there is any substantial benefit in a mobile phone platform at this time.

headsoup said,
Probably could do a little more investigation into where 64 bit architecture can provide benefits over just 'more than 4GB memory'?

Not that I personally think there is any substantial benefit in a mobile phone platform at this time.

Unless our phones are going to start doing heavy FPU work then the only area 64bit will help is in supporting more memory, which just lets you run more things at once but also will impact your battery to.

There is one change here that I think many are missing to consider.

Objective-C is used today for both OS X and iOS app development. OS X is now basically a 64-bit platform with the Macs having transitioned, and iOS 6 is a 32-bit platform.

This implies that e.g. the data type to store an integer on iOS 6 (NSInteger) is a 32-bit value on iPhone and a 64-bit value on OS X. Code that tries to store 64-bit data in that type on OS X will break on iPhone.

With a transition, developers can now assume iOS will work like OS X. This alone is great for devs coming from OS X! The data types will hold the same information, and probably with many more benefits too.

Also, if Apple in the future makes OS X support running iOS apps, this doesn't affect the developers. They just compile their apps for 64-bit as usual, and when the user opens an iOS app in OS X, OS X simply uses the appropriate compatibility library to run it.

Sure, ARM isn't Intel, so this can't be done on a low level. But iOS apps aren't coded on a low level. The primary programming language is Objective-C. The one major hurdle would be 32/64-bit incompatibilities in the high level language itself, and that is now torn down by Apple.

Northgrove said,
There is one change here that I think many are missing to consider.

Objective-C is used today for both OS X and iOS app development. OS X is now basically a 64-bit platform with the Macs having transitioned, and iOS 6 is a 32-bit platform.

This implies that e.g. the data type to store an integer on iOS 6 (NSInteger) is a 32-bit value on iPhone and a 64-bit value on OS X. Code that tries to store 64-bit data in that type on OS X will break on iPhone.

With a transition, developers can now assume iOS will work like OS X. This alone is great for devs coming from OS X! The data types will hold the same information, and probably with many more benefits too.

Also, if Apple in the future makes OS X support running iOS apps, this doesn't affect the developers. They just compile their apps for 64-bit as usual, and when the user opens an iOS app in OS X, OS X simply uses the appropriate compatibility library to run it.

Sure, ARM isn't Intel, so this can't be done on a low level. But iOS apps aren't coded on a low level. The primary programming language is Objective-C. The one major hurdle would be 32/64-bit incompatibilities in the high level language itself, and that is now torn down by Apple.


Something the author most likely never thought of before writing his editorial.

Northgrove said,
There is one change here that I think many are missing to consider.

Objective-C is used today for both OS X and iOS app development. OS X is now basically a 64-bit platform with the Macs having transitioned, and iOS 6 is a 32-bit platform.

This implies that e.g. the data type to store an integer on iOS 6 (NSInteger) is a 32-bit value on iPhone and a 64-bit value on OS X. Code that tries to store 64-bit data in that type on OS X will break on iPhone.

With a transition, developers can now assume iOS will work like OS X. This alone is great for devs coming from OS X! The data types will hold the same information, and probably with many more benefits too.

Also, if Apple in the future makes OS X support running iOS apps, this doesn't affect the developers. They just compile their apps for 64-bit as usual, and when the user opens an iOS app in OS X, OS X simply uses the appropriate compatibility library to run it.

Sure, ARM isn't Intel, so this can't be done on a low level. But iOS apps aren't coded on a low level. The primary programming language is Objective-C. The one major hurdle would be 32/64-bit incompatibilities in the high level language itself, and that is now torn down by Apple.

A lot of this is true, but unless Apple complete rewrites the iOS kernel to be optimized for ARM 64bit differences and rewrites the framework, Apps will not get the potential performance boost.

As for Apps, and dealing only with the upper layer of the framework, being able to allocated a 64bit integer is rather trivial for 99.999% of developers.

I don't see Apple redesigning (nor is there any indication they have) the iOS kernel or the Cocoa framework. If they did, it would break a majority of Apps.

Northgrove said,
There is one change here that I think many are missing to consider.

This implies that e.g. the data type to store an integer on iOS 6 (NSInteger) is a 32-bit value on iPhone and a 64-bit value on OS X. Code that tries to store 64-bit data in that type on OS X will break on iPhone.

With a transition, developers can now assume iOS will work like OS X. This alone is great for devs coming from OS X! The data types will hold the same information, and probably with many more benefits too.

This is a good theory, but I'm not convinced. If a developer creates a glitch on 32-bit iPhones by assuming integers are 64-bit, and doesn't notice on their 64-bit computer or phone, it's still going to be a software bug on all 32-bit iPhones (which include all current iPhones and the new 5C.) Helping bugs go undetected wouldn't be a smart move!

I could be wrong about this next part, but I would assume iOS's SDK will use an abstract Integer type that works the same in 32-bit & 64-bit environments (perhaps more efficiently on 64-bit with large numbers) just to prevent this type of bug from even happening.

I think Apple's technical objective here is just future proofing. They'll have a head start when other smart phone makers are scrambling to transition to 64-bit upon reaching the 4GB memory limit. For now, 64-bit will yield not much apparent change overall - mild performance improvements in some cases, and mild performance degradations in others (such as when running 32-bit apps in a 64-bit phone). Transitioning now however does give extra time for 32-bit apps to phase out and further optimizations to be made for 64 bit.

The marketing twist is interesting: many smart phones try to compete using spec sheets - often adding more CPU clock speed and RAM, which look good on paper but do not necessarily improve real world performance (because of bottlenecks). iPhone marketing has deliberately not competed using specs, instead focusing on apparent performance during real use. But perhaps they made an exception here, because they couldn't resist boasting a spec they know will be very difficult for competitors to match. Switching to 32-bit to 64-bit is tricky, and can potentially open a floodgate compatibility issues and fragment OS's and app markets. Apple has a unique advantage here, given the extensive knowledge and experience they gained doing 64-bit transitions on OS X. Apple has done two major 64-bit transitions on OS X, without once bugging users with apparent compatibility issues (going from PowerPC G4 to G5 and Intel Core Duo to Core 2 Duo.)

Edited by kayan, Sep 11 2013, 3:26pm :

kayan said,

I could be wrong about this next part, but I would assume iOS's SDK will use an abstract Integer type that works the same in 32-bit & 64-bit environments (perhaps more efficiently on 64-bit with large numbers) just to prevent this type of bug from even happening.

You would be incorrect. NSInteger is 32bits on 32-bit systems and 64bit on 64-bit systems. There are warnings when you mix the types in unsafe ways though. If a developer isn't treating a warning as an error, they should be.

owensd said,

You would be incorrect. NSInteger is 32bits on 32-bit systems and 64bit on 64-bit systems. There are warnings when you mix the types in unsafe ways though. If a developer isn't treating a warning as an error, they should be.

Thanks for the correction! Seems like iPhone developers need test on a variety of actual iPhones to really ensure an app works everywhere - and that's now going to include 32-bit and 64-bit iPhones. It sucks, but just about every software environment requires developers to do testing for multiple devices.

kayan said,

Thanks for the correction! Seems like iPhone developers need test on a variety of actual iPhones to really ensure an app works everywhere - and that's now going to include 32-bit and 64-bit iPhones. It sucks, but just about every software environment requires developers to do testing for multiple devices.

The simulator can help with some of this. But really, for the majority of code, if you follow the correct patterns it's a non-issue.

I was taken by surprise by that move and commented in advance that there'd be no way Apple would do this, because there are way easier and less costly ways for Apple to create "marketing fluff" than a transition to 64-bit architecture. Both in terms of new hardware and the required new iOS builds. That's what's so puzzling here!

I think there must be some other reason than pure fluff, because Apple is all about trying to get away as cheaply as possible while creating premium products.

but you will need more ram .. for example in the ipad or other machines in order to move both worlds together. simple apps and heavy apps like games or graphics or whatever. never thought of the 32/64bit thing in my smartphone. guess microsoft will see similar problems with moving pcs tablets xbox and smartphones together in one store and making apps available for all devices

-adrian- said,
but you will need more ram .. for example in the ipad or other machines in order to move both worlds together. simple apps and heavy apps like games or graphics or whatever. never thought of the 32/64bit thing in my smartphone. guess microsoft will see similar problems with moving pcs tablets xbox and smartphones together in one store and making apps available for all devices

MS has done a good job, so far, in the apps it helps make to support lower RAM devices, like the new FB app adding support for 256MB phones for example. Or some games that start with a 1GB requirement now also working on 512MB phones.

In the end though 1GB will be the base, how fast we go to 4GB I don't know, and honestly it's a phone, a phone doesn't need so much RAM as long as the developers do their jobs right. As for a tablet, well, isn't Surface 2 going to up the RAM to 4GB with the Pro model also having a option for 8GB? That's what I seem to remember, so they're already working it up. Besides, the smart way to do things, as far as games go anyways, is to scale things to meet the device type better. If it's on a tablet with a bigger screen and more RAM then up the gfx quality more, but if you're on a phone with a smaller 4" screen for example then you just don't have to run it at the same level. Lower the poly count or use other tricks that developers have before and no one playing on those smaller screens will notice.

but the problem is that you ideally want development just once and use it on ALL NT Kernel devices like xbox WP and Win8 and RT. i think the surface already came with 4gb and now ships with 8gb.
The store already seperates between 32 64 and ARM. so not sure how they want to find a solution for that

-adrian- said,
but you will need more ram .. for example in the ipad or other machines in order to move both worlds together. simple apps and heavy apps like games or graphics or whatever. never thought of the 32/64bit thing in my smartphone. guess microsoft will see similar problems with moving pcs tablets xbox and smartphones together in one store and making apps available for all devices

Yes, I've been thinking that maybe this isn't a plan for now, but for the future, that Apple is getting this done before there's a RAM crisis in a couple of years.

It could also be that it's somehow easier for Apple to debug a 64-bit iOS on their 64-bit Macs.

Heck, it could even be one of the first preparations to make OS X able to run iOS apps. Virtualization may be more efficient if both architectures share 64-bitness. However, there's still the discrepancy of Intel CPU's in Macs vs ARM ones in iPhones.

Anyway, I think there's more to this than fluff. It's too much work for fluff.

-adrian- said,
but the problem is that you ideally want development just once and use it on ALL NT Kernel devices like xbox WP and Win8 and RT. i think the surface already came with 4gb and now ships with 8gb.
The store already seperates between 32 64 and ARM. so not sure how they want to find a solution for that

I have no doubt that MS will unify the systems more but still, and I was talking about this more. That even if you do that there will always be some parts that will be different depending on the device type itself and that developers have to at least make their apps scale to the right device. So while the code could be 90-95% the same between all 3 you'll still have some small differences that you need to take into account.

For example if you code a app for the phone/tablet then you're going touch but that same app on the Xbox One will need to have code for the controller since there is no touch option. Also you have to make sure your graphics scale from 4" and up to big screen TVs etc. It's really not a case of code once run everywhere. I think even on the iOS side you have to make sure your apps/games UI/gfx scale from the 4" iPhone to the 10" iPad.

Remember at first when the iPad came out and all it did was run upscaled iPhone apps? Those looked really bad from what I remember, same with Android tablets to iirc. Point is that while it sounds nice it's never really 100% between all devices because they're still different. The closer you can get to it though the better, and if MS can get it to 95% or a bit more with just some device specific calls that need to be added with minor effort then the better. The store can be unified at that point and it'll just download and install the version that's right for your device.

-adrian- said,
..... guess microsoft will see similar problems with moving pcs tablets xbox and smartphones together in one store and making apps available for all devices

Initially.
This is why the big push to the windows runtime powering apps written in managed languages or html5+jscript+css.
This way developer assemblies will be compiled to a machine (architecture) independent intermediary language. When you click buy/download/install/whatever, that is when the store compiler will compile down to platform specific byte-code that can then be jitted by the device runtime.

DaveBG said,
I hope more people read this and do not get fooled by the iPhone fake marketing.

Not fake just marketing, all manufacturers do this

this is what happens when you've already added more cores and increased clock speed to sell your 2x advantage every iteration. now that you've exhausted your options, time to double the register size and you can again claim 2x performance.

Chris is right. Marketing.

COKid said,
Excellent editorial, Chris.

I thought it was terrible. It read like a misinformed user comment on an Engadget article.

"Apple has also done a great job confusing people on the differences between on-phone storage and system memory."

I am a member on various Apple forums including the most popular Apple user forum in the world that's full of 1000's of active users. No one has been confused about storage and system memory.

He concludes:

"The new phone is definitely another incremental upgrade in the line of iPhone devices, but the marketing buzz around the 64-bit architecture is nothing more than hype. Be a smart consumer and decide which phone you want based on facts, not fiction."

Most of the press and attention has actually been on the iPhone 5C, NOT the 5S which is the only phone to have a 64-bit processor. The 5C has the standard 32-bit A6 CPU.

I've never read so much rubbish on this site before and I hope biased garbage like this does not become the norm.

Steve121178 said,
I am a member on various Apple forums including the most popular Apple user forum in the world that's full of 1000's of active users. No one has been confused about storage and system memory.

Your a member on a forum full of techies... The issue isn't people smart enough to know. The issue is the majority of people who wouldn't know a Intel from AMD or a Standard Hard Drive from a SSD drive.

Hell... Techies get confused as to what "1GB" means... 1000 or 1024?

It may be "over hyped" but I have no doubt normal people will be confused...

wernercd said,
I have no doubt normal people will be confused...

They won't. The average consumer just buys the cheapest variant (the 16GB model) and doesn't care about RAM, processor and all that crap. They just want the latest iPhone. The actual clever tech inside they don't care about.

As long as they can post on Facebook, shoot photos of themselves in the bathroom and get Whatsapp working they are happy.

wernercd said,

Hell... Techies get confused as to what "1GB" means... 1000 or 1024?

It means 1000 Bytes! 1GiB means 1024 Bytes ;-)

Fred 69 said,

It means 1000 Bytes! 1GiB means 1024 Bytes ;-)

Close, but not quite... 1000 Megabytes is 1 GB. 1024 Mebibytes is 1 GiB...

That is officially. But tbh, everyone basically refers to 1 Gigabyte as being 1024 Megabytes and so on. The more important confusing issue is data transfer speeds, which are measured in terms of Mbps (Megabits per second) and is 8x higher than the speed of the transfer measured in MBps (Megabytes per second).

Pluto is a Planet said,
Close, but not quite... 1000 Megabytes is 1 GB. 1024 Mebibytes is 1 GiB...

That is officially. But tbh, everyone basically refers to 1 Gigabyte as being 1024 Megabytes and so on. The more important confusing issue is data transfer speeds, which are measured in terms of Mbps (Megabits per second) and is 8x higher than the speed of the transfer measured in MBps (Megabytes per second).

Hahaha, crap. Silly me jumping the gun.

Agreed on bits vs Bytes. Too many people don't understand the difference capitalisation makes in SI units.

I also chuckle when I see KB (Kelvin Bytes) instead of kB (kiloBytes) but that's just my compulsiveness...

dvb2000 said,
"S" is for suckers - Pay Apple another $800 for this years model - same as last years model.

lol suppose the S3 looks way different to the S4 or any of the Nokia's right?
Samsung have been using the sucker moniker more prevalently

Yazoo said,

lol suppose the S3 looks way different to the S4 or any of the Nokia's right?
Samsung have been using the sucker moniker more prevalently

So Samsung's one iteration from S3 to S4 is "more prevalent" than Apple's several? Yeah.. right.

Yazoo said,

lol suppose the S3 looks way different to the S4 or any of the Nokia's right?
Samsung have been using the sucker moniker more prevalently

I wonder why people compare for situations like these?!!!
Does this mean, Samsung didn't do much changes so Apple is not doing/changing
or I would like to show something to coverup something that's not acceptable by others.

TCLN Ryster said,

So Samsung's one iteration from S3 to S4 is "more prevalent" than Apple's several? Yeah.. right.

last time I looked there was an S3, S4 Note and a few more that all look the same

Look at the Galaxy series, including the cameras.

nitins60 said,

I wonder why people compare for situations like these?!!!
Does this mean, Samsung didn't do much changes so Apple is not doing/changing
or I would like to show something to coverup something that's not acceptable by others.

Why ask me this question?

Yazoo said,

last time I looked there was an S3, S4 Note and a few more that all look the same

Look at the Galaxy series, including the cameras.

We're talking about the phones here, not "phablets" and cameras.

64bit is a chicken-egg problem. Can't make 64 bit apps without proc... why add proc without apps? Sheep being confused (64 drive space vs cpu) is to be expected no matter Android, Apple, Windows, etc... marketing doesn't make uninformed people smart.

That doesn't change the fact that Samsung (and others like Nokia surprisingly) are innovating at a pace that puts Apple to shame. People want different shapes, sizes, attachments, etc. Apple is stuck on the same size and will be for at least another 12 months now.

The issue is simply that Apple is now Stale. A reskinned OS, slightly better specs and a finger print scanner? New colors and covers to accent the new colors? Oh yeah... market shaking movement there... So MAGICAL!

S3-S4 isn't a huge jump, and it is in the same league as the Old iPhone vs New iPhone... the difference is that Samsung is releasing new models continuously and you can't simply ignore the Note because it's a phablet. The high end is no longer owned by Apple. The "cutting edge" is no longer owned by Apple. Innovation... Style... Excitement...

For a two year span, from the original iPhone through the 3GS Apple was on top. I've never liked Apple, but I had 2 iPhones during that time because they were simply the best. Others caught up and now Apple is beyond stale and steadily falling behind at their 1-phone a year release pace. All they have now is a "Me Too" phone.

Yazoo said,

lol suppose the S3 looks way different to the S4 or any of the Nokia's right?
Samsung have been using the sucker moniker more prevalently

Theer is a huge list of differences between the S3 and S4 vs the difference in the iPhone 5 and 5S