When Apple announced the iPhone 5s, the company revealed that in addition to the A7 chip powering the device, there's also a separate M7 processor that powers the gyroscope, can keep track of your movements and more. It sounds like a more powerful version of the chips in fitness bands such as the Jawbone UP, and Apple promises that developers of health apps will be able to take advantage of the core. That's not all, though, there's a key GPS element that Apple plans to take advantage of, according to a new report from 9to5Mac.
Apparently, Apple will — in the coming years, maybe not immediately – integrate the M7 processor directly with its Apple Maps location. That would allow it to pinpoint you in certain areas, such as inside of a mall, to provide you with more granular directions. We already have Google Maps with the layouts of popular destinations, including malls, so that's already an option, but the M7 might be able to provide a lot more control.
9to5Mac noticed this bit of information from Apple: "M7 knows when you're walking, running, or even driving," Apple explains. "For example, Maps switches from driving to walking turn-by-turn navigation if, say, you park and continue on foot. Since M7 can tell when you're in a moving vehicle, iPhone 5s won't ask you to join Wi-Fi networks you pass by. And if your phone hasn't moved for a while, like when you're asleep, M7 reduces network pinging to spare your battery."
It almost sounds a lot like the core inside of the Moto X, which also can tell whether or not you're driving. If you are, it can read alerts to you out loud so that you don't need to pull out your phone. With the M7, your phone might log where your car is parked when you're in a crowded parking lot — like at Disney World — so that it's easier to find your way back when you're done for the day. 9to5Mac, which provided that example, also says public transit could be use-case scenario. We imagine the phone being able to locate you inside of a subway that's mapped, though which does not have a wireless connection.
It's still unclear when these features might be added, but it looks like Apple is well on its way to making all of this a native reality inside iOS 7 and on its M7-powered iOS devices. It's for similar reasons why I said the iPhone 5s may really be worth the upgrade.