Earlier this year, a Qualcomm executive said the 64-bit processor in the Apple iPhone 5s was a marketing gimmick and pointed out how the chip did nothing to help consumers. Qualcomm eventually retracted those comments and said it was working on its own 64-bit chip. That is only part of the story — new details suggest the A7 took Qualcomm by surprise, and the company is in a panic as a result.
According to Hubspot columnist Dan Lyons, Apple’s announcement of the A7 “Hit [Qualcomm] in the gut.” An anonymous Qualcomm employee told Lyons that the A7 took not just Qualcomm, but everyone by surprise. Though the company is publicly downplaying the advancement in mobile technology, internally people are freaking out.
“The 64-bit Apple chip hit us in the gut,” says the Qualcomm employee. “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 it’s like, 32 more, and now everyone wants it.”
Qualcomm is working on its own 64-bit processor, the Snapdragon 410, which will land in smartphones in the second half of 2014. If Qualcomm keeps to its timetable, it will be about a year behind Apple in the 64-bit processor market.