iPad Air promo (A7 closeup 001)

In October, Qualcomm’s chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher made headlines when he commented in an interview that Apple’s new 64-bit A7 chip was just a ‘marketing gimmick’ that added ‘zero benefit’ for the customer.

Qualcomm was quick to backtrack on the executive’s remarks, and according to a new report, that’s not what it was thinking at all. Speaking with a source inside the company, Dan Lyons says Apple’s 64-bit chip rocked the industry…

Here’s Lyons reporting over at HubSpot (via MacRumors):

“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.”

In addition to the iPhone 5s, Apple also utilizes its A7 processor in its new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display. And although several apps and games have been updated to support it, few of them are taking full advantage of it yet.

As for Qualcomm, it announced its first 64-bit processor last week: the Snapdragon 410. It’s scheduled to hit smartphones in the second half of 2014.