Two Things Apple Got Absolutely Right In The iPhone 5s and iOS 7 - Forbes

We’ve certainly had our fun around here with Apple's recent product announcements, noting, for example that iOS7 seems to trigger motion sickness in that small portion of the population susceptible to it. Others have noticed that the iPhone 5c, the cheap one, isn’t actually all that cheap. But perhaps it’s worth having a look at two technical developments that Apple have got absolutely right with, respectively, the iPhone 5s and iOS 7.

The first is that they’ve successfully moved over to a 64 bit architecture on the A7 chip. 64 bit isn’t exactly new, it’s been around on the desktop (and in other architectures in the mid-sized computing world) for some time now but this is the first time that anyone has managed to get it all into a mobile architecture. That 64 bit would come to mobiles was obvious, as it is also obvious that somewhere down the line it will move to 128 bit and so on. These things just do happen in powers of 2 over time. The major difference now being that the processor can directly address more than 4 GB of RAM, something that as ever more computing power devolves down to those processors in our mobiles is going to be most useful.

But as John Naughton points out that’s not the real thing that is so remarkable here. Someone, somewhere, was going to make this move soon enough. What Apple should be congratulated upon is the manner by which they did it:

But for geeks, two things about iOS 7 stand out. One is the fact that Apple could completely rewrite a complex operating system for a 64-bit environment – and ship it in a relatively bug-free state, on time.

Given the nightmares that other companies have had even just trying to update an OS, let alone conduct an entire rewrite, yes, that is an impressive demonstration of Apple’s technical chops and of their project management ability.

The second thing is in iOS 7 and is best explained here.

At present, if your phone or tablet is connected to Wi-Fi and a cellular network at the same time, it can only use one or the other connection to transmit data. But what if your Wi-Fi connection or your 3G connection drops? Whatever data was being transmitted—data for an app, a webpage, an iMessage—will fail to arrive, and you have to try again, usually after getting a frustrating error message or a blank page. Just as importantly, if one of your connections to the internet slows down, or speeds up, your phone has no ability to use its other connections to its advantage, leading to a poorer and slower experience overall.

The solution to this is:

MultiPath TCP (MPTCP) is an effort towards enabling the simultaneous use of several IP-addresses/interfaces by a modification of TCP that presents a regular TCP interface to applications, while in fact spreading data across several subflows. Benefits of this include better resource utilization, better throughput and smoother reaction to failures.

In the sort of language that most of us will understand our phones have a number of ways of interacting with the internet. WiFi, 3G, 4G perhaps, and if we start our phone off in performing some task then it will use the one we tell it to. But, as often happens, if that 3 G signal starts to fail, of the WiFi router goes on the blink, it won’t then automatically switch to one of those other potential connections to finish the task. The decision on what connection to use is being taken by the meatspace object holding the phone in other words.

MPTCP is an attempt to get around this. It’s putting the choice of which connection to use where it probably should be, under the OS and nothing to do with any human being holding the phone. Check what’s the best way to connect at any moment and let the hardware/software do all of that work. Further, if a connection degrades at any point then automatically switch to the next best option. And finally, pick up the upload/download at the point it had reached rather than starting all over again.

This might seem trivial but it isn’t: for people have been headscratching over quite how to implement this for 5 years or so and Apple are indeed the first people to have brought it to fruition. It’s another testament to those technical chops.

So far, the only way that Apple’s devices appear to be using this protocol is to communicate with Siri

Well, yes, for the processing being done on that voice recognition is indeed being done in the cloud, on Apple’s servers, so better contact with said cloud is obviously going to improve Siri. But others will start to use it soon enough.

Another way of putting this is that sure, we’ve got that fingerprint thing, a better camera, a faster processor. But underneath the hood we’ve also had some very sophisticated engineering challenges met and solved. Maybe the iPhone 5s wasn’t, on hte face of it, any great leap forward: but there’s no doubting Apple’s engineering and technical skills here.

via apple - Google News


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