"The Cortex-A32 delivers 25% more efficiency (performance per mW) than the Cortex-A7 in the same process node. Cortex-A32 delivers this efficiency through a combination of both performance improvements and power reduction," says ARM.
The Cortex-A32 processor incorporates new power management features compared to Cortex-A7 and Cortex-A5 processors, thereby providing more capabilities for embedded applications that require minimal idle power consumption.
The new ARM Cortex A32 looks set to solve many of our gripes with the Apple Watch. It's faster, so apps and the interface can respond more quickly.
The ARM Cortex A32 has better power management so the Apple Watch may have a longer battery life (or be less quick to shut off the screen).
The new chip also offers better media playback functionality which may improve the Apple Watch's audio and video playback ability.
New Apple Watch chip could be 32-bit powerhouse
The new ARM A32 uses the new ARMv8-A architecture but in a 32-bit only environment. This 32-bit environment is critical because a 64-bit processor draws too much power for the Apple Watch, and the newer ARMv8 architecture enables the device to be more efficient.
The current CPU in the Apple Watch (branded the S1 but designated "APL0778") uses the older ARMv7 architecture with a PowerVR SG543 graphics processing unit.
ARMv8 has so far been limited to power-hungry 64-bit processors, like the ARM A35, the type that sits inside the iPhone 6s and iPad Pro. The new Cortex A32 is largely an ARM A35 with a 32-bit architecture.
ABI Research has the best analysis of what's currently inside the Apple Watch.
The new ARM Cortex A32 is designed for wearables, like the Apple Watch, as well as the upcoming Internet of Things (iOT) and small microcontroller boards like the Raspberry Pi.
ARM says: "[ARM Cortex A32] is suitable to use in a range of embedded markets that require higher performance than a microcontroller, or have the need for a rich OS such as Linux, Android or Windows."
The new ARM Cortex A32 is designed to scale down to an incredibly small footprint. The smallest configuration of the Cortex-A32 processor occupies less than 0.25x0.25 mm and consumes less than 4mW at 100MHz in 28nm.
On the other hand, a larger Quad-Core configuration is available running at 1 GHz, matching the kind of desktop-class power found in mobile phones and Raspberry Pi devices.
According to ARM, the Cortex A32 offers these benefits:
- ARMv8-A (AArch32) instruction set
- Enhanced floating point performance
- Substantially faster software encryption
- Enhanced media performance
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