The Apple A7 is the company's flagship mobile SoC and debuted earlier in September this year with the new iPhone 5s. Now, it also powers the recently released iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina display.
When it was first launched, competitors Qualcomm was quick to dismiss it as a "marketing gimmick". This statement was made by Anand Chandrasekher, who was then Qualcomm's Chief Marketing Officer. Qualcomm later released another statement that retracted Chandrasekher's comments and he was subsequently reassigned.
Although Apple's competitors have been putting on a brave front, the fact is not all is calm under the water. According to an unnamed insider at Qualcomm who said:
“The 64-bit Apple chip hit us in the gut. 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.”
The insider also added that while a 64-bit processor was in the works, the roadmap was "nowhere close to Apple's". Now, Qualcomm has to switch to 64-bit chips earlier than planned. The company has already demo-ed a 64-bit version of its Snapdragon processor - the SnapDragon 410, which we reported here - and wants to get it into smartphones by the second half of 2014.