Mad Dog 21/21: Will You Still Need Me When ARM's 64?

2014-Mar-03 | Tags: 32vs64arm

Start64!At the end of February there was a big technology trade show, Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona. MWC attracted more than 70,000 visitors. It spanned mobile gadgets, electronic components, apps, and services--stuff for consumers, and stuff for the industry itself.

This year's unofficial theme was the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit processing, chosen last September 10. That is when Apple unveiled its 5S phone with a 64-bit A7 processor. Apple's circuit, manufactured by Samsung, is based on ARMv8A architecture. It runs 64-bit iOS 7. And, for now, it defies competition.

In the iPhone, as in other computers, whether clients or servers, 64-bit technology pretty much removes any logical barriers imposed by limitations on memory. Physical memory, of course, depends on the configuration of the particular device. In a 64-bit environment, it becomes possible for programmers to hide most distinctions between main memory and data storage peripherals and to leave issues that might involve virtualization to hardware, firmware and systems software. The result can be an improved user experience.