AppleInsider reports that the leaked parts appear to show a component in the phone that has never been seen before in iPhones, leading to speculation that it is the rumoured Near Field Communications (NFC) system.
The photos, published on Sunday by Chinese website Apple.pro, appear to show the new iPhone model's front assembly, including what could be an NFC chip located next to the front facing camera.
AppleInsider said that it "cannot verify the unknown part's origin or intended use", but the leaked image does follow previous speculation that the next generation iPhone, often called the "iPhone 5", will have NFC.
Japanese Apple blog MacOtakara noted that the mystery square component covered by EMI shielding has similar dimensions to existing NFC technologies.
This follows a report in June, which said that a hardware code dump from a suspected "new iPhone" prototype suggested that NFC controllers will be directly connected to the handset's Power Management Unit.
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NFC uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to enable two electronic devices to talk to each other when in close proximity. This enables the transfer of data, such as enabling a user to pay for goods by just tapping their phone onto a special contact point in a shop.
Apple has already announced that its Passbook system will be included in iOS 6, the operating system upgrade that would most likely run in the new iPhone.
Competing with rival services such as Google Wallet, Passbook is like an address book for things such as boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, and loyalty cards, which can be scanned using barcodes and geographic hotspots.
It could be that Apple will extend this initiative to offer a 'contactless' payments and data transfer system in the new iPhone.
An advantage here would be that it already has hundreds of millions of credit card details on file via iTunes, meaning it would be relatively straightforward to set up a secure mobile payments system.
Alongside payments, NFC would also theoretically enable iPhone users to quickly and easily share files with other iOS device owners.
Jim Peters, the chief technology officer at SITA Labs, said in June that Apple will most likely look to really drive forward the NFC market with its new iPhone.
"Apple just thinks about how they can make it really easy for the user, and then they figure out how to monetise it," he told Computer World at the time.
"They don't think about how to monetise it and then tell the user what they can have. It doesn't work like that
"There aren't any transactions in it yet, but I think that's how Apple is going to sneak up on the industry.
"They are going to get people used to using it and then all of a sudden they will allow credit cards to be used in there, on the next iPhone, which will include NFC."