Many observers have been predicting that Apple will endow its next iPhone handset with NFC (near field communication) capabilities, with images allegedly leaked from the assembly line seeming to confirm this.
Apple Insider published the pictures and expert analysis has revealed that they clearly show a new chip on the front of the phone, which is thought to be NFC ready.
The lack of distinct branding or identification on the chip does cast some doubt on the claims, although it is consistent with the half centimetre square form factor that is shared by other NFC tech currently on the market.
NFC is likely to become a mainstream technology if Apple is indeed planning to use it in the iPhone 5, since at the moment, it is still featured on a relatively small number of handsets and is thus not as visible as it might otherwise be.
NFC allows people to make contactless payments at terminals in shops, as well as being able to carry out other short range interactions, which means it could replace things like tickets for travel and event entry.
The new iPhone is almost certainly going to be revealed next month, so fans will not have long to wait.