If Apple keeps to past patterns, when the rumored iPhone 5s is introduced at the rumored September 10 event it will come with an update Apple A7 system-on-a-chip (SoC). The only thing I've heard about it to date is the presumed name, and that it'll focus on being more efficient and more "advanced" rather than simply being faster. Now Clayton Morris of Fox, whose had good sources before, has put some numbers to those rumors. On Twitter:
Sources are telling me the new iPhone's A7 chip is running at about 31% faster than A6. I’m hearing it’s very fast.
And what's more, it could have some form of motion tracking companion core. Also Twitter:
I’ve also heard there’s a separate chip devoted to motion tracking. Should be an interesting camera upgrade.
Meanwhile Mark Gurman has heard Apple has been testing a 64-bit architecture for the A7. 9to5Mac:
It’s unclear if 64-bit will make the cut, but it’s been in testing. We’re told that the 64-bit processing will make animations, transparencies, and other iOS 7 graphical effects appear much more smoothly than on existing iOS Devices…
I wouldn't be surprised if Apple's already excellent image signal processor (ISP) - the secret behind the iPhone's phenomenal photographic performance - gets a boost as well. One of the more interesting technical aspects will be seeing what makes it into the 2nd generation Swift - the name for Apple custom chip design, begun with the A6 in 2012 - including a potential Rogue-based PowerVR graphics processing unit (GPU).
The iPhone 5c would likely use the Apple A6 and other components currently found in the iPhone 5, though Retina-level iPads would likely need a version of A7 powerful enough to drive 2048x1536 displays. Previously that was accomplished with the anemic A5X and the far better A6X processors.
The iPhone is already fast enough for most general purpose mobile computing tasks. It's specific, specialized areas that can benefit the most now, including (and always) increasing battery life, turning out better photos, and improving interface and gaming performance. The latter of which is particularly important given that iOS 7 essentially runs on a game-style physics and particle engine. And oh those gaussian blur filters...
Then there's just the question of how much RAM it would need, even given the high level of integration Apple products enjoy, to make it all sing?