iPhone 5s preview: Apple A7 chipset brings 64-bit, twice the speed, OpenGL ES 3.0 gaming

iPhone 5s preview: Apple A7 chipset brings 64-bit, twice the speed, OpenGL ES 3.0 gaming

Everything you need to know about the new Apple A7 system-on-a-chip with 64-bit ARMv8 architecture for twice the speed, twice the graphics, twice the registers, and OpenGL ES 3.0 for even greater gaming!

At the heart of every iPhone 5s beats an Apple A7 system-on-a-chip (SOC). That's the term for a central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU), and other components like random-access memory (RAM) spun together into a single, integrated chip. The big news is that the Apple A7 is twice as fast at both general purpose and graphics processing as its predecessor, the Apple A6, yet remains roughly the same size. The bigger news is that the Apple A7 is 64-bit, and the first 64-bit processor crafted for a consumer smartphone, and that it supports OpenGL ES 3.0, and comes with a companion chip, the M7 motion coprocessor.

Note: There's not a lot of real information available on the Apple A7 yet. Apple hasn't released much and they probably never will. It's not their way. We'll get a better idea about what the chipset is and what it means after the iPhone 5s is put through its paces, gets torn down, and gone at with an electron microscope. That aside, here's what Apple has had to say about the Apple A7 SoC so far:

There’s fast. And then there’s A7 fast. The new A7 chip gives you CPU and graphics performance up to 2x faster than the A6 chip. Even more impressive, A7 makes iPhone 5s the first 64-bit smartphone in the world — that’s desktop-class architecture in a superslim phone. And because iOS 7 was built specifically for 64-bit, it’s uniquely designed to take advantage of the A7 chip.

A7 supports OpenGL ES version 3.0 to deliver the kind of detailed graphics and complex visual effects once possible only on Mac computers, PCs, and gaming consoles. The difference is amazing. Take the imaginary worlds in games, for instance. Textures and shadows look more true to life. Sunlight reflects off the water. The whole experience feels much more realistic.

iOS 7 and all the built-in apps are optimized for the A7 chip. The Camera app is a great example. It takes advantage of a new image signal processor built into A7 to give you up to 2x faster autofocus, faster photo capture, and higher video frame rates.1 You’d think with all this going on, battery life would suffer. But it doesn’t, because A7 is designed to be incredibly energy efficient.

Apple started designing their own chipsets with the Apple A4 for the original iPad in 2010. They brought that SoC to the the iPhone 4 later the same year. It sported an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU, a PowerVR SGX 535 GPU, and 512MB of RAM fabricated at 45nm, along with some performance enhancements supplied by Instrisity, a company Apple later bought.

With the iPad 2 in 2011, Apple introduced the dual-core Apple A5 SoC. It upped the ante to a ARM Cortex-A9, a PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU, and 512MB of RAM, and the iPhone 4S got it later that year as well. Dual-core, while adding a small amount of overhead, allowed certain features to be run in parallel. For example, one core could keep running the iPad while the other worked at beaming a video to an Apple TV over AirPlay.

The Apple A5 was originally fabricated at 45nm but Apple reduced it to 32nm in 2012 for the updated iPad 2, Apple TV 3, and iPod touch 5. Reducing the die size not only made the chip smaller, but more power efficient as well. Apple also added a quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4 for the Apple A5X included inside the Retina iPad 3. Four times the graphics cores were needed to drive the massive 2048x1536 display on the iPad 3, and even then, to only barely above acceptable levels.

For the Apple A6 SoC in the 2012 iPhone 5, instead of sticking with the Cortex A9 or moving on the new ARM A15, Apple did something more aggressive, and a lot more impressive. They licensed the ARM v7s instruction set and rolled something uniquely their own. It was a 32nm CMOS dual-core Apple processor - called Swift - that could run from between 800MHz and 1.2GHz.

It was no doubt difficult and expensive to move to their own design, but it let Apple produce exactly the processor they wanted and needed to produce. Many of the advantages wouldn't - and still won't - play out immediately, but it took Apple's vertical software-and-hardware-integration model to an entirely new level.

Likewise, instead of going with the dual-core PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics chip found in the iPhone 4S, or the giant quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4 found in the iPad 3, Apple went with the triple-core PowerVR SGX543MP3 GPU. Again, 2 cores wouldn't have given the graphics performance they needed, four cores wouldn't have been as power efficient, and by designing it themselves they could use the part that was just right, topping it all off with 1GB of RAM. (The iPad 4 later got the Apple A6X with a quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4 GPU, once again to drive the more pixel-heavy display).

Apple hasn't said exactly what it's packed into the new Apple A7 and likely never will. It's fairly certain at this point that Apple has licensed and is using the newer ARMv8 architecture for the CPU, and PowerVR Series 6 (Rogue) for the GPU. RAM remains uncertain. Apple is typically very conservative when it comes to memory, so the same 1GB as the A6 wouldn't be a huge surprise.

64-bit on the box

Apple claims the A7 is the world's first 64-bit smartphone processor. Like capacitive touch screens in a world that's resistive, and Retina displays when all eyes are on standard, 64-bit, while largely impenetrable to the mainstream is none the less recognizable and marketable. It sounds advanced. It sounds better than. It sounds leading edge. In a time when superficial public opinion is leaning away from Apple-as-innovator, the importance innovative, if superficial messaging cannot be stressed enough.

It's a competitive advantage as well. The interface dynamics in iOS 7 are already going to be hugely problematic for competitors to emulate. Re-building everything on top of a physics and particle engine is one thing, running constant blur shaders is quite another. It's not only computationally expensive, it's architecturally painful if you don't own the whole stack and product line from atom to bit.

The Apple A7 only compounds that problem. Even if a competitor can produce a 64-bit chipset of their own, how long will it take the operating system and apps to be update to support it? How architecturally painful will that be?

A7 and iOS 7 both take advantage of the unique strengths of Apple's product model. As difficult as it is for Apple to compete on hardware price, it will be incredible difficult for anyone to compete with what Apple is doing with their interface and integrated chipsets. Apple's profits have not historically depended on low-end market share, nor have competitors' popularity depended on best-in-class experience or architectural prescience, yet both are things everyone is going to have to pay attention to over the course of the next year or two.

Architectural advances

The 64-bit thing is causing some confusion. Mainly in the media. That makes a certain amount of sense. Mass media has mostly been told - and passed along - the most obvious consumer-facing benefits like the ability to address more than 4GB of RAM, and to work on much larger image and video files. It's easy to imagine a future where more powerful iPads and Apple TVs - both of which share the same processor architecture and operating system - can benefit from those capabilities, not to mention the Mac on ARM project at Apple that we might see the fruits of one day. But here, today, now, 64-bit in the iPhone 5s?

It still comes down to speed, though of a different kind.

Apple says the A7 has "desktop-class" architecture. That translates into a modern, more efficient ARM-based instruction set, 2 times the general-purpose registers, 2 times the floating-point registers, over 1 billion transistors, and all on a die that retains the same 102mm size as the previous Apple A6 processor. Which flew.

The ability to chew through registers in particular is being pointed out as a net positive. Registers are the memory units inside CPUs. They're what hold the bits being operated on at the moment. The more bits that can be held at once, the more operations that can be performed at once. And just like keeping bits in RAM is faster than moving them back and forth from physical storage, keeping them in registers is faster than going out to RAM or storage to get them.

Transparent transitions

Apple also claimed that, while the 32- to 64-bit transition took years on the PC, they're going to do it in a day. That's thanks to the Apple A7, iOS 7, and new versions of apps. Support has been built into iOS 7 for the 64-bit Apple A7. That includes native, 64-bit kernel, libraries, and drivers, built-in apps that have been re-built for 64-bit, an easy transition path for developers thanks to Xcode support, and the ability to build both 32- and 64-bit apps. The iPhone 5s will likewise run apps updated to 64-bit alongside apps still stuck at 32-bit, making it transparent to customers as well.

Here's what the Apple Developer Center says about the 64-bit transition:

iPhone 5s is powered by Apple’s next generation A7 chip, making it the world’s first smartphone with 64-bit desktop-class architecture for blazing fast performance in the palm of your hand. The iOS kernel, libraries, and drivers now take advantage of 64-bit, delivering up to 2x faster CPU and graphics performance for your apps and games. And it’s easy to build and run your apps in 64-bit because Xcode automatically builds your apps into binaries that will run on both 32-bit and 64-bit devices.

There might be some increased memory demands, if both 32-bit and 64-bit frameworks are both being loaded, but hopefully the iPhone 5s hardware bump is, in part, designed to make that almost invisible as well.

Less in the abstract is the speed of transition. I worked in Enterprise during the Windows 64-bit change-over and it was ugly and annoying. I don't think most consumers even noticed the OS X 64-bit transition. Apple's proven they know how to handle these things so that they're almost transparent to the customer, and that's given them a huge edge for iOS.

Power pays

When it comes to raw speed, Apple claims the A7 CPU is twice as fast as the A6. For those keeping score at home, that works out to 40x faster than the original iPhone. (The latter is more vanity metric than obvious consumer benefit at this point, but it does illustrate just how far mobile processors have come.)

It's hard to really appreciate speed until you go back to something that isn't as fast. Be it broadband vs. dialup, LTE vs. 3G, SSD vs. HDD, or a processor that's twice as fast vs. one that now feels twice as slow. But the difference, one you might never have noticed before, becomes instantly apparent. iOS 7 will be pushing the limits of modern smartphone hardware. Increasing those limits will not only make iOS 7 perceptibly better, but it will make the kind of apps iOS 7 can run perceptibly better as well.

Gaming gains

Likewise, the Apple A7 GPU is also claimed to be twice as fast. That works out to 56x faster than the original iPhone. Additionally, the Apple A7 runs OpenGL ES 3.0, which should let game developers flip their 64-bit switches and bring their desktop class games to the iPhone 5s more easily and quickly than ever before. (Insert Infinity Blade 3 here.)

Here's what the Apple Developer Center says about OpenGL ES 3.0:

With iPhone 5s you can now create apps and games that look and perform better than ever with built in support for the latest version of OpenGL ES, version 3. The integrated graphics engine in A7 leverages the powerful 64-bit design to deliver beyond console-level graphics. Incorporate advances in the rendering pipeline, a new version of the GLSL ES shading language, and enhanced texturing capabilities in your apps today.

It's arguable whether or not Apple "gets games", and what they do with next-generation iPads, Apple TVs, and future devices remains to be seen. However, while "Console quality" is a term that gets thrown around a lot, 64-bit an OpenGL ES 3.0, shows Apple putting their tech where their mouth is.

Cameras, enclaves, and motion

What's in the Apple A7 processor goes beyond 64-bit, and beyond even the CPU and GPU. There's a new coprocessor called the M7 that works alongside the Apple A7 to handle motion-related tasks. There's also a new ISP for even better mobile photography, and a dedicated enclave to securely store Touch ID fingerprint authentication data. We'll address each of those elements in their own, dedicated articles.

More to come

The Apple A7 processor is shipping alongside the iPhone 5s on September 20, and we may just see it in more products come October. Until then, keep up with all the latest news, and get involved in all the best conversations:

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 38 comments. Add yours.

SterlingSpring says:

While Apple is conservative on the ram department...they very well MIGHT and I HOPE make the ram 2GB for the 5S....it will be a great benefit..

MikhailT says:

I agree, I hope they bump it to 2GB but I'm okay with 1GB there. I'm honestly hoping they bump it on the iPad, it needs it more than the iPhone.

Dionte says:

I think it will be with that 64bit processor.

vinny jr says:

How much faster will the 5S be with the new processor jumping from 32 to 64-bit without a bump up in the RAM dept? I am not tech wizard but to utilize that new processor I think that the iPhone 5S needs more RAM. I'm buying the 5S one way or the other but I'm hoping they didn't cheap out on the RAM. The iPhone 5 would slow down after you use the phone all day and have many apps still opened, that is due to not enough RAM. Give the phone the added HP it needs, give it some added RAM.

MikhailT says:

> A lot of guesses have been made, including licensing the newer ARMv8 architecture for the CPU..

That's confirmed by Apple itself on the mailing list here: http://lists.cs.uiuc.edu/pipermail/llvmdev/2013-September/065480.html

kelton says:

Will all the accessories that fit an iPhone 5 also fit the iPhone 5s?
For example, is the camera lens and flash located in precisely the same location so that the openings on the old cases will match up nicely?

MikhailT says:

I think yes on iPhone 5C only but not on iPhone 5S. There's a new dual LED on the back, so your case may not have the proper fitting for it. The sensors are bigger in the camera but I'm not sure if the lens are different, so it might not fit either with your existing stuff.

kelton says:

Actually, I think the 5c has a different shape (like the way the edges of the phone curve)...so I doubt they would be able to share the same cases.

Zulfigar says:

All depends on the case you currently have, as MikhailT said, because of the LED's.

Solamar says:

Physically, I think any case would technically fit the 5s, but you'll want to watch our for these 2 gotcha's; the home button and the LED on the back. If it's an open case in the front (doesn't obstruct the button) and has a wide enough opening for the LED it should be fine.

My case I think I'm ok with.

I don't think you'll be as lucky with a 5c, it's rounded and slightly thicker I believe.

temm says:

When we were kids we looked at the speedometers of cars to see how fast they go. Nowadays people look at GHz and Megapixels. They choose Android.

I'm impressed with the forward thinking and the fu attitude to tech bloggers/geeks.

Aenean144 says:

Since Apple is saying the A7 GPU supports OpenGL ES 3.0, that should eliminate all PowerVR 5 series GPUs from the list of candidates for the GPU in the A7. The low clocked SGX 554MP4 in the A6X is 2x faster than the higher clocked SGX 543MP3 in the A6, and could have been a possibility, but 5-series GPUs aren't certified for OpenGL ES 3.0. So, it's either a conservative PowerVR 6x00 implementation or it's an Apple custom GPU.

As for ARM v8 and 64-bit, there definitely could be some instructions that will help with all the fancy dynamics and transitions in iOS 7, as well as making the device more secure. Cryptography should be faster. If there are ARM v8 exclusive SIMD instructions, those could speed up certain things, like image manipulations.

Also, Schiller says it has >1 billion transistors, twice as much as the A6, and implies the A6 has 500 million transistors. These statements have some ramifications. The A6 is ~100 mm^2 on Samsung's 32 nm fab. Schiller says or the chart said that the A7 is 102 mm^2. This is kind of mysterious as fabbing on a 28 nm node only gets you a 1-(28/32)^2 = 23% reduction (optically perfect) in die size, which enables only 50% more transistors or so, not 100% more. With 2x the transistors and the same die size as the A6, the A7 needs a 22 nm node or either Samsung's or TSMC's 28 nm is packing some pretty dense transistors. Also, with 1 billion transistors, it's packing a lot of cache. I mean a lot, like 8 MB or something, or there's a lot of something else there.

MikhailT says:

We have to wait until Anandtech and their buddies to get the iPhone 5S and take a detailed scan of the chip.

Apple might be misleading us that A7 has a 1B count but rather both A7/M7 has a combined 1B count. They might be calling the SoC A7 and M7 is a *part of that SoC*.

Aenean144 says:

The M7 transistor count won't make a hill of beans difference for transistor counts on the order of 1 billion.

Moreover, I believe Apple is using traditional parlance when they say co-processor. It's a separate chip off package.

Ron Miller 85763 says:

I'm not convinced that the media is confused about the benefits of 64-bit. The main benefit really is being able to address a larger memory space. There are also benefits in doing 64-bit arithmetic, although this can be done with 64-bit registers without making the entire chip 64-bit. Also, a lot of arithmetic is often done on the GPU (and I would guess that the A6 GPU was already 64-bit if not 128-bit). I don't understand the differences between the armv7 vs armv8 instruction sets, so there might be some 64-bit optimizations available in the instruction set.

As a software engineer, I really am curious as to what the real reason is for the 64-bit processor. Unlike other companies, Apple generally doesn't do something just to put a bullet on a slide, so I'm sure that there is a very good reason for the move. I wish I knew what it was.

MikhailT says:

The media is definitely confused and it is Apple's fault. The biggest benefits are not from 64-bit but from the optimized ARMv8 ISA with a huge increase in the hardware registers (the biggest benefit) and a unified address space that'd map the drive storage (16-64GB). There are so much hardware changes, that Apple just simplified it down to the move to 64-bit, rather than the simple fact that it is a 64-bit CPU.

It's not just some optimizations but ARMv8 ISA is completely overhauled based on the past decade worth of experience with ARMv7. ARM did say that they've simplified the ARMv8 ISA, made it more modern and included a lot of specialized registers for stuff like encryption and so on.

Derrick4Real says:

They simply don't care. Honestly. I don't care. I read the first three sentences of this, tried to skim, my eyes glazed over and i just can't read it. I don't care. This stuff isn't important to me. Its not a feature. Maybe later it allows another feature but call me when that happens. The average public simply isn't that interested in this tech minutia.

akdj says:

Yet you took the time to reply? Why?
Of course the 'general public' doesn't care. But WE do:-). We're geeks. We're hobbyists, developers, engineers and actually interested in the 'whys' of a jump to 64bit. Not sure why you took the time to reply yet didn't take the time to read past the first three sentences. To me...to MOST that frequent iMore, anandtech's site, Ars, iFixIt, etc...this is our passion and we ARE interested. To me, since the keynote....I've been blown away by the major misunderstanding of what 64bit architecture brings to the table & means to the consumer. It's hilarious to constantly hear 'but iPhones won't have 4GB of RAM until 2023! Why now?
Listen, read, learn....and understand our creator gave us two ears and one mouth...so we could 'listen' twice as much as we speak (or comment). While this SoC move is a major one...so is the proclaimed 10-15% in battery life. Something most general consumers CAN and DO understand. Apple hasn't 'lied' yet in their presentations of previous releases. I have no reason to suspect they're lying this time either. Moore's law is now rampant in the mobile sector....while the desk/laptop CPU world has slowed their clock speed increase and augmented the 'speed' with more cores. In mobile, most (if not all) software is programmed to single core....possibly dual core reference. Stacking quad and octo core procs in these devices....at this time, does nothing more than drain battery life quicker. It's amazing how the typical layman is blind to this 'innovation' from Apple. It's easy to add cores. It's hard to create from ground up your own CPU to be married to your own GPU to be married to your own OS...and the integration means a fluent experience to the end user. Some will call it a simplified, dumbed down OS/UI. Simplicity requires a LOT more work in the builder's end than complicated.
Lastly, with XCode and Apple's APIs...a developer need not worry when it comes time to build out their app to 64b from 32b. I/B3 in two hours? A near 2GB game? Amazing. I own both Android and Apple devices. We develop for both. It's absolutely nauseating to read comment after comment about Apple's inability to 'innovate'. Horse Shit. They're so far ahead of the rest of the mobile technology world it's hard to quantify. Licensing the ARM system as a piece of clay and building it into something this substantial is an absolute 'WIN!' As Charley Sheen would say in one of his drug fueled drunken stupors.
Thanks again Rene. Always appreciate you and the crew's insight. I'm absolutely sure the folks at Goog/Droid will have dozens in line launch day...to pick up, pick apart and 'learn' from what Apple has just built. What an incredible time to be a 'geek'!

mjlewis0102 says:

Yeah man. Its just the processor that's really irking me. Yes i get that its 64 bit and it allows for more ram, along with other things, but what does that do for THIS phone? Can we add more ram to it when the iPhone 6 comes out (or would it be discontinued)? It's like a demo button on a toy that doesn't actually do what it demos. I really never rant but this one just draws the line. Introducing the new iPhone 5s with a new 64-bit processor which allows for 4 or more gigs of ram (small print only comes with 1 gig). THats all I'm saying. Yes this chip will be great in future devices......but they could have just said new a7 chip 2x faster than A6. 64 bit means nothing to the iPhone 5s.
I#teamandroid #teamapple #Teamtechnology

akdj says:

DON'T let it 'Irk' YOU!!! ;)
The ONLY way Apple could double the transistors---is by doubling the amount of current A6 (A7 transition) cores---dual to quad OR by increasing the clock speed AND an incredibly dense (33%+ increase of existing transistors to the A6--->A7 transition. Lastly---a possible third core? It's not the 'usual'---but it can be done, has been done and who knows what Apple has done. I don't want to ruin your experience if you decide to read the link I've provided...but it you don't, it seems the general consensus is still a dual core system....BUT, Early next week as Anand and iFIxit get their hands on it (and the SoC) under the Electron microscope---we'll have a MUCH better idea of what they did, how they did it and THEN we can speculation Why they did it!! But rest assured, this little son of a BeeyAtch is gonna FLAT Fly! Please (my apologizes to the iMore team...but I've seen you guys reference MacRumors in the past as well---if this reference isn't welcome, feel free to delete my response) check out macrumors.com, the iPhone forum...and the post from Dr Jenkins ('chrmjenkins') @ http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1634100 He's well educated (and experienced) with chip design and seems to have excellent 'outside' resources on fabrication processes as well as how the entire chip was thought out---built and the 'whys' of their reasoning to build it out now---instead of the misinterpreted idea that 64bit chips are only designed to address >4GB of RAM. It's an excellent read and there's a link in his OP that will take you to his earlier post on the subject when the 64bit idea was a 'rumor'. It's worth reading before the linked post if you have the time, otherwise, the linked post I think may answer some of the questions you have...and enlighten you to Apple's move. I know it did me.
J

Mac58 says:

It will be interesting to see what exactly 64 bit will mean for the 5S. Apple has been known to just create graphs during presentations that just say "2x Faster" or 10x faster and have never really stated where this data comes from, especially since they dont list specifics

MikhailT says:

But Apple has a solid track of nearly doubling their performance in ever *S* upgrade, so while they do tend to distort their marketing a bit, their performance records are solid.

relentlessFocus says:

What will really be interesting is how 64 bits is used in the iPad and potential new MacBook Air class devices. It may be that Apple didn't particularly need the 64 bits exactly right now for the 5S other than the chip was designed for greater efficiency, has the hardware for TouchID and was ready for production.

renstein says:

When the iPhone is released, go to Anandtech.com, they will analyze the chip and provide all the specifics you want. That was the website that really was able to figure out what the Swift core was all about via extensive low level testing. I think they were also in on finding out that Samsung was juicing the processor during benchmark testing. They are probably the best hardware site on the internet.

willizen says:

Apple does not chase meaningless specs just for the sake of specs. There isn't any money in that rat race, just ask any PC/smartphone manufacturer besides Samsung (their secret is brute force marketing).

That new A7 chip looks pretty impressive, far more power than what we need right now. Apple has something in mind that they haven't revealed yet, and I am excited to see what it is.

SockRolid says:

re: "The bigger news is that the Apple A7 is 64-bit, and the first 64-bit processor crafted for a consumer smartphone, and that it supports OpenGL ES 3.0, and comes with a companion chip, the M7 motion coprocessor."

Samsung claims they'll be releasing some kind of vanilla 64-bit ARM CPU at some time in the future for their iPhone clones. Yadda yadda. Samsung claims a lot of things.

What I'd really like to hear is the sound of breakable objects being smashed in the corner office of Intel Corp. immediately after Phil Schiller put up that "64-bit" Keynote slide. Back to the drawing board, Intel. Good luck trying to drag your legacy carcass into the 21st century.

Rene Ritchie says:

Updated to reflect ARMv8 and PowerVR Series 6 (Rogue) architecture, which sounds almost certain at this point.

renstein says:

I actually found Apple's performance charts and messaging to be interesting. It seems they are trying to combat the fact that media/customers seem to be bored, unimpressed by things like twice the performance. It is a small number that actually conveys something huge.
They are trying to show that in one upgrade, they have equalled the performance gain of the last 5 years put together. People in technology for so long are so used to such impressive performance gains that they have become blasé.
Also, Apple is showing us that they are still in the zone where Moore's law is still closely linked to performance. They got about twice the performance for twice the transistors in about the same die size. Intel is past that a little bit, transistor density is still doubling every 18 months, but the latest generation of Intel chips were 15 to 30% faster than the previous generation.

Dark_Blu says:

Excellent write up on the 64bit A7, Rene. I'm starting to warm up to the 5S, but I'm still concerned about the finger print reader, so if you address that in an article, that would provide some useful information on this tech.

boovish says:

I never even stole a car so sha'up!

nonomia says:

some thing wrong, we have to say UP TO 2x speed via A6. Not just 2x speed. 64bit means, can calculate 32/32 integer with a register, it can reduce some bit-shift or memory moving. Due to 64bit register can hold the result, but, speed is not double. And, generate some over head to set/unset register. Generally, the efficiency is around 30% only, it is why they have increase the clock speed at same time. But, still, 2x means just a some peak speed with some specific condition.

akdj says:

Apple has been correct in the past on the '2x speed' bump. On every iteration and announcement they've made. Of course clock speed will be a factor. As will the ability to calculate within the SoC itself vs the push/pull to RAM access. If you look at past articles on anand's site...you'll see this fact holds water and not just in a specific benchmark. In fact, with the measurement tools used to bench these SoCs available....they've hit 2-7x CPU and GPU improvements across the board. On and off screen variables for tr GPU...speed and efficiency of the CPU and memory access. Even if they maintain 1GB of RAM, buy make the move from DDR 2 to 3--- again, another extremely welcome advancement without the additional RAM inevitable battery drain

nonomia says:

First, in the past, apple has been archived as UP TO 2x, because of NOT ALL CODES ARE RUNNING 2X, what is the advantages when access the memory except the memory addressing space ? external memory bus is 32bit only now, and, 64bit means just the internal bus even it is 128bit and it is same as 32bit core also, thru SIMD, if they has double clock speed, they can 2x speed, some commands will be archived 2x, and some commands are not. 2~7x ? maybe they have used 4x cores ? maybe, if they have used 4x cores,
one more, from the latest some benchmark, they claim 2x graphic performance, but, actually, 30~60% of improvements are shows yet, maybe the software has optimized completely, maybe, can improve more, in this case, we say as UP TO 2X, Actually, ONLY APPLE say 2x or 3x or .... most of people do not say like that, they use UP TO, it is more honest explanation.

Snowman81 says:

Can't wait to really see the iPhone 5S in action....can't wait to watch some video reviews of it!

frogbat says:

Think they might be prepping this for a high powered Apple TV that will offer downloading and playing games to compete with consoles etc...

Dev from tipb says:

Despite the hyperventilation in the blogosphere, a 64 bit architecture does not mean much - yet. It will be slightly faster (not 2x, except in theoretical specs), and it's impact on battery life is still in question - some say it will be about the same, some say it will hurt. It is still a smart move now, because Apple is playing a long game.

As many have pointed out, the primary benefit is accessing additional memory. This is no big deal with current 1GB devices, and binaries are going to be a little fatter, and some may be a teeny but slower, while supporting 32 and 64 bit architectures. However, if Apple sticks to its current pace, we can expect 4GB of RAM in about two years. In two years, the 5S will be the free-but-ancient model, which means that by starting now Apple will have free rein, and developers will have had two years, to go all-in on 64 bit up and down the line, giving them a clean hardware and software break others will find tough to replicate.

Sent from the iMore App

scottnch1 says:

This whole graphs thing is a complete charade. With each new release Apple says it's "up to" so much faster.

All they've done here is take all of those "up to"'s as gospel and worked out that it's now 40x faster than the original iPhone.

So, in effect it's "up to 40x faster", whatever that means.

It's marketing fluff. Complete tosh, and to present it as a feature, or news, is disingenuous, at best.

nonomia says:

Just BS, TC's way. Actually, they do not have any noticeable issues, so, they want to shows some impressive numbers.