The 64-bit A7 system-on-a-chip found in Apple’s iPhone 5S caught several market-leading chipmakers off guard when it was debuted in September, a move that one Qualcomm insider says put the industry in panic mode. In a recent report from Dan Lyon’s blog, HubSpot, an unnamed source at Qualcomm mentioned that Apple’s A7 “hit us in the gut,” referring to the silicon’s support for 64-bit processing. The person said the following regarding the matter:
Not just us, but everyone, really. We were slack-jawed, and stunned, and unprepared. It's not that big a performance difference right now, since most current software won't benefit. But in Spinal Tap terms its like, 32 more, and now everyone wants it.
The roadmap for 64-bit was nowhere close to Apple's, since no one thought it was that essential. The evolution was going to be steady. Sure, it's neat, it's the future, but it's not really essential for conditions now.
With the 64-bit A7 chip powering the iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and iPad mini with Retina display, the insider views Apple as being at least one year ahead of the competition if not more. Despite having the tech on a roadmap, chipmakers can’t flip a switch and move their prospective timelines forward on such short notice, so it will definitely be challenging for them. The Qualcomm employee was quite straight forward with some of his remarks such as the following one:
Apple kicked everybody in the balls with this. It's being downplayed, but it set off panic in the industry.
Source: HubSpot (blog)