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When Apple updated its iPhone product line last week, one of the major new hardware upgrades was the M7 motion sensing chip. The company promised the M7 would deliver unprecedented power in tracking user movement and location. The immediate application that came to mind for many who heard the announcement was fitness and health apps, which are among the most popular uses for smartphones. With improved motion detection, apps such as Nike + and RunKeeper could offer more accurate and in-depth statistical tracking for the user's running and exercising patterns.

While this is certainly the case, there are other benefits to the M7 chip that many may not have considered. According to TechCrunch, the new chip will also vastly improve the iPhone's battery life. Many functions that the device currently performs, such as checking for WiFi signals and cellular service. Throughout the day, these processes use up quite a bit of battery life, but the new M7 chip would reduce the need to carry out such procedures, only checking when the user actually moves to a new location. In the case of the fitness apps mentioned above, the M7-equipped iPhone (and perhaps eventually the iPad mini) could perform more motion-tracing duties, rather than having to send out a signal to cell towers that communicates the runner's position.

The real test of how useful this technology will be may not come for some time, as third-party app developers will have to be given time to incorporate it into their software. But given that Apple tends to introduce successful technology into all of its product lines, it seems likely that the M7 chip, or something like it, could find its way into Apple Mac laptops, iPads and other devices.

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