Nice discussion of new features, including why 64-bit A& chips are useful.

supercomputerby NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Hands-on with the new 64-bit A7-powered iPhone 5s with new M7, camera features & Touch ID
[Via AppleInsider]

Without any of Samsung’s embarrassing show stereotypes and circus theatrics, Apple unveiled its “forward thinking” new iPhone 5s as not just “what’s next,” but “what should be next,” advancing mobile devices into the 64-bit computing world for the first time.

[More]

I always get a little excited by such arcane stuff as chip architecture. Loved the idea of reduced instruction set chips when the PowerPC came out.

Now we have a new generation of ARM-based chips – remember that ARM was originally funded byApple way back in the Newton days.

A 64-bit chip means that instructions can be run in one clock cycle that would take two with a 32-bit chip. There are also many other things that are possible by increasing the bit length. It means doing all that math calculation needed for new software can be done faster, letting the processor drop back into power saving mode sooner.

And the fingerprint ID feature can be set up so multiple people can access the phone, great for families. What should come next is the ability to create user profiles based on fingerprints, so you can make sure your children can only do certain things while playing with the iPhone.

The M7 motion chip offloads continual sensing from the main chip – which can use a lot of power as it keeps getting woken up–  making it possible to collect a lot of data easily. On of the things this lets it do is determine when you are asleep and thus telling the phone not to ping a cell tower as often, in order to save the battery.

The camera has all sorts of new computational heavy bells and whistle. I may not have to use my DSLR much anymore.

Because, with the new camera – which really needs the 64-bit processor to do so many wonderful things so efficiently in software – this is rapidly becoming a supercomputer in the hand rather than just a phone.