The Economist explains: Why does the new iPhone have a 64-bit processor?

SINCE its resurgence in the late 1990s, Apple has generally shied away from trumpeting processor speeds, cache sizes or other technical details in its marketing materials, preferring to emphasise what its products can do, rather than what is inside them. It does make exceptions, however, as in the case of the recent launch of the iPhone 5s, its new flagship smartphone. Executives hyped its “64-bit” A7 processor, which they asserted had desktop-computer performance and could complete some tasks twice as quickly as the 32-bit chip in its previous model. Rivals, bloggers and technology-news sites disparaged its claims, saying that there was no good reason to put a 64-bit chip in a smartphone except to claim bragging rights. Anand Chandrasekher, the chief marketing officer of Qualcomm, a rival technology firm, told Techworld: “Predominantly…you need it for memory addressability beyond 4GB [gigabytes]. That’s it. You don’t really need it for performance.” Yet the performance boost is there, as independent benchmark testing confirms. Why has Apple made the jump to 64 bits?A central processing unit (CPU) is the number-crunching brain of any digital device, whether it’s a laptop, phone or Mars rover. A CPU is capable of performing various basic mathematical and logical operations: divide this number by that number, say, or compare two values and jump to a …

Link to article: www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/11/economist-explains-7?fsrc=rss

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