M7, the motion co-processor for the new iPhone 5s and everything developers can do with it

If the C in the iPhone 5c comes from “Colorful”, the S in the iPhone 5s may well come from “Sensors”. Thus, in plural, and is that although the most mediatic novelty of the new flagship of the apple is undoubtedly its interesting fingerprint recognition system Touch ID, we find another surprise that has gone more unnoticed but can open great opportunities for developers: the motion coprocessor M7 , a small chip responsible for measuring constantly data recorded by the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass.

The M7 is designed to perform this task much more efficiently than the A7 chip, freeing it from a job that all previous generations have traditionally had to deal with, and significantly reducing power consumption. This basically means that any app that makes use of this data can obtain it at any time without draining our battery. And this is where the good stuff starts…

M7, the motion co-processor for the new iPhone 5s and everything developers can do with it
M7, the motion co-processor for the new iPhone 5s and everything developers can do with it

And here’s another S, for “Smart.” Thanks to the quantification of our activity , the iPhone 5s is more aware than ever of the context in which we find ourselves, making available to developers the possibility of improving their applications based on this knowledge. The first benefits, but not the only ones, will be the personal training apps that follow our physical activity. Is there anything more obvious?

Without the need for additional accessories, these apps can perfectly replicate the core functions of bracelets like Jawbone UP or Nike’s Fuelband, but with a fundamental difference: these devices don’t have a 64-bit beast like the A7 on their side to directly process all this data when needed.

Paradoxically, the first of this new generation of apps will come from the Fuelband team and will be Nike+ Move , a new application for iOS that records our daily activity and turns it into a game, even linking it to Game Center challenges to encourage our friends to take a dive to see who is the most active (well, you can always use it for the opposite but it would be a perversion of its original goal).

The mere existence of a coprocessor as specific as the M7 capable of managing the information collected by all kinds of sensors with low power consumption only leads us to an inevitable question: will Apple be working on other devices that could benefit from it? The iWatch is one of those rumours too insistent not to contain part of the truth and the M7 could well be one of the pieces of the puzzle. We’ll see about that (or not).

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