Another supposed part leak from Apple's next generation iPhone 5 has shown up online. The component is listed as a headphone jack/earpiece/Wi-fi antenna. The iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 parts are grouped a bit differently -- but that's not what we find interesting. If this is indeed a part from the next generation iPhone, I don't think what it's listed as is what we're actually looking at. I think it's possible we're looking at Apple's new micro dock connector, the one iMore first reported on back in February.
While it is correct that the headphone jack, volume buttons, and mute switch are grouped together on one component in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, I don't believe that's what this component is at all. The picture above is a photo of an iPhone 4S with an iPhone 4 dock connector below it. As you can see, the part leak shares a pretty strong resemblance to the dock connector and loud speaker of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. What I think we are actually looking at is a dock connector/loud speaker/cellular antenna assembly. Currently the dock connector and loud speaker are on the same assembly but the cellular antenna is its own component that is fastened to the speaker housing with adhesive and a set of screws.
People also tend to confuse the Wi-Fi antenna (which is actually located in the top portion of the iPhone 4 and 4S) with the cellular antenna located in the bottom portion along with the housing. Above you can see a photo of an iPhone 4 cellular antenna. If you refer back to the supposed iPhone 5 part leak photo, you can see the resemblance to a cellular antenna, which actually would make a bit more sense considering these parts are all grouped in similar areas already. The fasteners are very similar though so I wouldn't rule out it being a Wi-Fi antenna just yet.
What intrigues me the most about this image is that the dock connector (which is what I believe it is along the bottom) does indeed look quite a bit smaller than the current version. This lines up with the new iMore broke back in February -- that Apple would be ditching the traditional 30-pin dock connector and going with a smaller micro dock connector in the next generation iPhone.
While this could be a component for the iPhone 5, it's also too early to assume that this is the final assembly Apple will go with as we've heard reports that the design has not been finalized just yet.
We'll just have to wait and see.