iNews: Apple’s new 64-bit chip is a look to the future

With the recent release of the Apple’s iPhone 5S, there has been a lot of buzz over 2 new features: TouchID fingerprint scanning and Apple’s new A7 64-bit processor. If you don’t know what 64-bit means, this article on eHow has a pretty good explanation. Anyways, the whole 64-bit thing seems to bother a Qualcomm exec. The executive said it was a “marketing gimmick” offered “zero benefit”.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

There are three popular predictions about what that new A7 processor could mean. They rumors go something like this:

  • Apple is gearing up for an ARM-based Mac.
  • Apple wants to make an iOS based Mac (yes, that’s a rumor)
  • Apple is aiming for the Post-PC era

Let’s go down these rumor lists and their credibility, shall we?

First, the ARM Mac. Since it’s Apple, we have no idea whether or not they’re going to do it. But since it’s a computer, that could backfire badly. First of all, ARM processors perform good, maybe even great, but compared to an Intel or AMD x86 processor, they’re pretty low end. The Macbook Air’s jaw-dropping 14-hours of battery life with an Intel processor is absolutely ground-breaking and with an ARM processor, it would get significantly better. But the problem is, the Mac is a computer. Computers have always been known for whipping out performance that creams just about any mobile processor out there. I’m not saying computers are necessarily better or more popular.That’s not true. But in the end, will a modern ARM processor be able to withstand full Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, or Visual Studio? I don’t think so.

But that brings us to the next rumor: the iOS based Mac. Um…why? Sure, iOS devices are pretty popular. But most iPad or iPhone owners don’t own or plan to own a Mac. Where Apple stands as lord of apps in the mobile world (more or less), the Mac is the poor cousin. If Apple brings in an iOS based Mac, it could flop hard. Many Mac owners use it for things like photography and filmmaking, and iOS is weak with productivity in general. The iOS based Mac would appeal to consumer markets, but few consumers can actually afford a Mac.The only Mac users I know are either photographers or college students, who need to get real work done, which is where iOS fails.

However, the final rumor seems to make sense. The idea of the Post-PC era is that PCs will become obsolete, niche devices. Mobile devices would, however, take over consumer markets. The arguments of the people against Post-PC are usually:

  1. “The screen is too small”: Believe me, I understand. In an era where most laptops come in 13-15” models and where desktop monitors are usually 22” big, a 10-inch tablet screen is kind of sad. And that onscreen keyboard tends to take up a significant amount of screen space, so with programs where we need extensive typing, the screen size will be an absolute nightmare.
  2. “Touch screens are uncomfortable to use”: This makes sense; a touch screen isn’t exactly an ergonomic breakthrough. But if you look at the way people hold tablets nowadays, it isn’t as uncomfortable as you might think. But if the tablet OEMS pay attention the first argument, that large screen will make it a little harder to hold.
  3. “They’re underpowered”: Up to now, yes. The A7 processor is barely comparable to a modern Core i5 or i7 chip, but that could soon change. This is technology: never say never. If you had said to someone in the 90s that their cellphone would soon be able to host a full web browsing, they would laugh. But the 64-bit A7 is a start. This will probably make way for more powerful mobile processors in the near future.

Do you agree or disagree with me? Do you think Apple is up to something else with their new A7? Tell me in a comment below! I’d love to hear it.

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