iPads Enter Era of 64-bit Processing

Apple touted the new A7 64-bit processor when it launched the iPhone 5s, and while some commentators said it was a revolutionary breakthrough, some critics said it was a gimmick that wouldn't mean much in terms of user experience. The critics were wrong. Subsequent testing has indeed shown that the iPhone 5s is the "world's fastest smartphone." Everything simply works faster, from running apps to downloading videos. So it's big news that Apple is now using the chip in the iPad.


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Make no mistake: this chip paves the way for the iPad's future. It gives the iPad the robust processing power of a desktop computer. That means that it's now possible to have apps that are as sophisticated as those on a desktop. The iPad is clearly becoming a productivity tool as well as a tool for checking email, surfing the web, and consuming media. 

What's the big deal about 64-bit processing? A 32-bit chip can only address a maximum of 4GB of memory, whereas a 64-bit chip can address up to 16 "exabytes," with an exabyte being 1 billion gigabytes. Apple is focused on creating a platform for years to come and is the first maker of mobile devices to achieve this. In fact, Apple could eventually use this same chip to power its laptops, creating the possibility of a common platform among all of Apple's laptops and mobile devices.

Apple has provided tools to developers to make it easy to port their apps to 64-bit versions, so your favorite apps should quickly be able to take advantage of the greater power of the A7 chip.

Apple is again doing a great job of leading the way in moving mobile technology into the future.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.