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Just how good is Apple's new ARM-based A7 processing chip for the iPhone 5s? According to Anandtech (via AppleInsider), it's almost strong enough to power a desktop computer, thus validating some earlier claims by the Cupertino company. After studying the A7 chip and going over Apple's coding for the LLVM compiler project, Anandtech's Anand Shimpi arrived at the conclusion that the A7 features the same amount of execution ports found in Intel's Ivy Bridge chips.
Shimpi goes into considerable detail about the chip's architecture compared to Apple's A6 chip, and concludes that "the rest of the players in the ultra mobile CPU space didn't aim high enough." That includes software developers as well, since Shimpi claims that virtually no apps on the App Store take full advantage of the processor's power, and indeed, the chip seems well ahead of its time in terms of battery consumption and RAM bottlenecks.
That's a far cry from the words of Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm's former marketing chief, who dismissed the A7 chip as a "marketing gimmick" in October of last year. Qualcomm quickly backtracked, and "reassigned" Chandrasekher to a different position. In their revised statement, Qualcomm stated that "mobile hardware and software ecosystem is already moving in the direction of 64-bit; and, the evolution to 64-bit brings desktop class capabilities and user experiences to mobile, as well as enabling mobile processors and software to run new classes of computing devices."
Anandtech's findings also fuel another rumor that Apple may bypass Intel entirely for future MacBook Airs and fit them with their own ARM or AMD chips, citing problems with the amount of power required to run the chips.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.