Apple M7 co-processor the future of indoor location

Analyst Blog

Sept. 11, 2013, 12:21 p.m.
Patrick Connolly, Senior Analyst

Firstly this must be one of the most underwhelming Apple announcements with a general response of “Meh” to yesterday’s announcements- no-one overly surprised, angry or excited by anything announced. The primary reason is that Apples strategy is focused on profit margins and share prices rather than exciting the end-user. Good for Tim Cook, because this may be what he can best bring to the role of Apple CEO- the quicker he stops worrying about being Steve Jobs the better for Apple.

In terms of ergonomics, I haven’t held one yet, but the 5C look a bit like a cheap Lumia 920, so not much innovation there. It also feels as though Apple is doing a good job of stealing elements of Damien Hirst’s spot artwork, much like it did Jeff Koons’ vibrant colours for the iPod. Hey, modern art is all about taking inspiration from the last guy, just saying…….

Now that I have got that off my chest, I am excited. I am excited by the M7 co-processor which (with the exception of the Moto X) is the first high-profile handset, where the OEM has set aside embedded processing cores just for always-on motion detection/sensor fusion/indoor location/ambient intelligence. There is much debate in the sensor industry about how best to cope with the rapidly increasing processing requirements of always on, particularly as companies like Movea, indoo.rs and senion labs looks to pull in increasing levels of complexity to improve performance. Currently companies design to support a dedicated microprocessor/sensor hub or to utilize the host application processor. Assuming that other handsets will adopt a similar approach, this would not only answer this debate but also help to catalyze the industry, creating a processing platform capable of enabling the first true ambient intelligence applications. I think this shows, along with its recent acquisitions, that Apple is determined to be a leader in the area of ubiquitous location and ambient intelligence. It may be behind on outdoor maps today but it is looking to the future and is determined not to be left behind again.