Will the A5 chip be enough to propel the iPhone 5 to greatness?
Although many new features for the iPhone 5 have been speculated on, few seem to be set in stone — with the exception of the A5 processor. but if the A5 turns out to be the “crown jewel” of the iPhone 5 upgrade, will that be enough to excite iPhone users?
There’s no doubt that the most talked-about piece of news concerning the iPhone 5 has to be the release date. But a close second is the swirling debate about which features the iPhone 5 will boast. There has been a steady stream of reports about a wide range of different purported features, such as a larger screen, 8 megapixel camera, NFC technology, a non-existent home button, aluminum chassis, and more.
However, there seems to be no agreement on whether any of these features will actually materialize on the iPhone 5 — they seem to “here one week and gone the next.” Even the next iOS 5 operating system has been called into question as to whether or not it will appear on the iPhone 5, with analysts suggesting that it might not be ready until the Fall of 2011.
The only new development for the iPhone 5 that all of the reports and tech pundits seem to agree on is the A5 chip.
And this, of course, is the easiest feature to predict, since it has already seen mainstream application in this year’s new iPad 2. Thus far, the A5 processor has gotten rave reviews from analysts and users alike: tech-oriented folks appreciate the bold power of the A5 and foresee it as a trailblazer for even better things to come, while the average iPad 2 user just feels the improved speed and functionality.
That being said, there was more to the iPad 2′s successful launch than just the A5: the addition of a front- and rear-facing camera, cool gyro feature, industry-leading price, and a thinner and lighter chassis all contributed to the robust sales that the iPad 2 continues to enjoy. The A5 was the “under the hood” improvement from the original iPad, and one could argue that, while it is a key upgrade to the iPad, it isn’t the most “marketing friendly” feature for un-geeky tablet users.
With this mind, what if the A5 chip turns out to be the only significant upgrade for the iPhone 5? Will that be enough to energize iPhone users to the point where they’ll shell out big money to upgrade?
No matter how powerful the A5 processor may be, without some accompanying “bells and whistles” on the iPhone 5, few mainstream iPhone users will see the point in putting to rest their iPhone 4. This reality is precisely why Ferrari, Lambourghini, Porche, and other exotic car manufactuers put a beautiful body on their high-performance sports cars; if their cars looked like a Prius on the outside, no one would buy them at their price point, no matter how big their engines are. (And apologies to all you Prius drivers out there.)
Truth be told, iPhone users will be looking for one big feature to get excited about. Last year, it was the addition of the front-facing camera on the iPhone 4 that excited people. Apple was able to recycle that feature on the new iPad 2. But for the iPhone 5, the A5 processor alone won’t be enough to propel it past this year’s Droid offerings — and at this point, the A5 is the only feature we can bank on.
Let us know what you think about the A5 chip, and if it would be enough to get you excited about buying an iPone 5!
What You Need To Know About the A5 Processor
One way to get excited about the iPhone 5 — even if its only major upgrade from the iPhone 4 turns out to be its chip — is to fully understand and appreciate the power and performance of the A5 in its glory. First, some of the basic stuff: the A5 chip follows in the tradition of all Apple’s mobile processors in that it is a a package on package (PoP) system-on-a-chip (SoC). This means that the whole operating system fits on the chip itself, as compared to personal computers, where the OS is stored and runs off of the hard drive.
The A5 chip is manufactured by top-notch Samsung, and although Samsung has allowed Apple to keep their production costs down, all indications are that the A5 chip is pretty pricey to make. While Apple seemed willing to eat the extra cost of the A5 processor on the iPad 2, it remains to be seen if that will be the case for the iPhone 5 — it could see an uptick in its price point at the expense of a faster mobile computing experience.
The other cool thing about the A5 is that it is a dual-core processor. This means that the CPU has two independent cores that are integrated on one circuit. What does that mean for the layman? The dual-core set-up lets you multi-task at greater speed and fluidity — it’s like having “two computers in one.”
Speaking of speed, the A5 has lots of it. It has been rated at 1 GHz on the iPad 2. However, the chip can dynamically adjust itself to save battery life. The result is that the A5 processor is basically twice as fast as the old A4, and said to be nine times faster than the A4 on graphics. So if you love your graphics on the iPhone 4, wait until you see them running on an A5-powered iPhone 5!
By Michael Nace