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http://blog.hubspot.com/uattr/qualcomm-apple-64-bit-chip-hit-us-in-gut

Don't shoot the messenger. I'm not being tasteless for the sake of being tasteless. The bit of headline that caught your eye is a quote from a Qualcomm insider. In an unexpected fit of honesty, he said a lot of things. Apple turned the industry on its ear when they announced the iPhone 5s. The 64-bit A7 chip is a revolutionary advance that took the chip world by storm. While everyone took pains to publicly downplay the advance, privately, they were sweating blood. Here's a few examples:

The 64-bit Apple chip hit us in the gut,” says the Qualcomm employee. “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 roadmap for 64-bit was nowhere close to Apple’s, since no one thought it was that essential,” the Qualcomm insider says. “The evolution was going to be steady. Sure, it’s neat, it’s the future, but it’s not really essential for conditions now.”

But once Apple introduced a 64-bit processor, all the other phone-makers wanted one too. “Apple kicked everybody in the balls with this. It’s being downplayed, but it set off panic in the industry.”

Right after the iPhone 5s was introduced, you might recall Qualcomm CMO, Anand Chandrasekher dismissing the A7 as nothing more than a marketing gimmick. You might also recall that he was immediately demoted, err, reassigned after publicly stating such a ridiculous thing. Qualcomm was also working on its competing "marketing gimmick", along with Samsung, who also wanted to make it clear that they were going to have one too, eventually. 

Apple seems to own leadership in the areas that really matter. Why does no one ever react with panic to Microsoft, Google, or Samsung initiatives? Why does LG, Amazon, or HTC never catch the industry completely unprepared, or hit them in the gut with innovation? Why indeed.

David Johnson

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