updated 07:51 pm EDT, Mon October 28, 2013
Cook coy on why mobile devices need 64-bit processing
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday said that the inclusion of a 64-bit processor in the company's newest iPhones and iPads is just the beginning of long product roadmap. Cook's comments came in the midst of Apple's fiscal fourth quarter conference call. The Apple chief neglected to detail what sort of products Apple may have in the offing that would require such processing power.
The announcement of a 64-bit chip for the iPhone 5s touched off a minor controversy in the tech industry, with some observers noting that such technology is most useful for devices accessing more than 4GB of RAM. Some Apple competitors, though, were quick to announce that they would be rolling out 64-bit power in the next generation of their own devices.
Asked by an analyst why Apple's iPhones and iPads would need such power, Cook made assurances that the introduction of the A7 was part of a bigger strategy.
"Everything you mentioned," Cook said, "is the front end of a long roadmap."
Cook made no further comment on the A7's implications for iOS devices, but he likened the inclusion of a 64-bit processor to another new feature that debuted with the iPhone 5s, the Touch ID biometric sensor.
"This is our first use of the fingerprint sensor," he continued, "and if you've used it so far, you know it's pretty profound from a security point of view."
Adhering to Apple's policy of secrecy, Cook had kicked off the conference call with vague hints at new product offerings in the coming months.
"If you look at the skills Apple has, from hardware and software services... no one has skills like this," Cook said. "We obviously believe we can use our skills to build other great products in areas we do not participate in today."
While iPhones and iPads continue to see strong sales, many investors and industry observers have continually chided Apple for choosing to gradually improve its existing products instead of breaking into new product categories. Cook, meanwhile, has maintained over the past few conference calls that Apple is hard at work on new products, while of course holding back any additional information. The most the Apple chief would reveal is that consumers can expect them throughout 2014.
Current speculation centers on the possibility of Apple entering two different markets in the near future: television and wearable computing devices. The idea of an "iTV" has a relatively long history, with each quarter bringing new rumors that the next quarter will see such a device introduced. The supposed "iWatch" wearable device, though, may have a bit more substance behind it, as Apple patent applications have revealed that the company has at least worked on such devices.