I cant help but laugh at the post you were replying to, suggesting Apple cheated, or buy into ARM. ROFL. Then i saw he got 6 likes… people do believe this shxt. Sigh…
The ARMv8 implementation design started in 2007, picking up speed in late 2009. Announced to the public in late 2011, Apple shipped their first 64Bit Soc with iPhone 5S in late 2013.
This doesn’t mean ARMv8 were unknown to the world before then, like you have said, ARM generally consult and work with their partners on many things; If not everything, that is why they have many implementation and reference design to suit their customer’s needs. And this is not only on hardware, but software as well such as compiler programmers.
Any other company with an ARM architecture license, would likely to have been involved in the design stage. And if they could be bothered to actually work on 64bit design all the way from the start, there is no reason why they cant ship their SoC in 2013 or 2014!
So why were everyone on the market 2 years late on ARMv8 64bit? Well it take 1- 2 years to get an implementation of an Architecture, and then another 6 months to tape out. Even ARM didn’t have their ARMv8 reference design finish when Apple shipped A7. It wasn’t just the competitors were shock, it was a shock to ARM as well. Because NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE think they will need 64bit, not yet, not then, not on a Smartphone.
Qualcomm’s Anand Chandrasekher actually got demoted for saying 64bit is not needed. He was properly right, but Qualcomm was under pressure from their customers / shareholders to offer 64bit chip so he was not allowed to say that. ARM was under intense pressure as well, and to fast track the whole ARMv8 reference design.