If everything we've heard lines up, we're less than a month away from the introduction of the next iPhone — and as such, the rumor mill is churning out a wide variety of leaked potential parts and body designs. One of the biggest points of speculation thus far has been the new iPhone's dock connector — for months, we've been hearing that Apple would abandon the 30 pin connector it has used on iOS devices since the iPod way back in 2003 in favor of a smaller plug. That rumor has picked up steam over the last few months and hit a head in the past few days, as French site NowhereElse posted a variety of photos showing off what appears to be a USB-style connector with 16 pins, eight on each side.
Since those photos surfaced, iFixit wrote in and told MacRumors that the connector's metal frame also counts as a "grounding pin," which adds one more pin to the count. Further adding to the confusion is a line of code in iOS 6 that refers to a nine pin connector. While we likely won't know for sure exactly how this new connector will function until a site like iFixit tears the new iPhone apart, it seems pretty obvious at this point that Apple's new dock connector will have about half as many pins as the previous model — and it'll take up a lot less space, as well.
Update: AppleInsider chimed in this morning, noting that the connector is likely a nine-pin affair, with the eight visible connectors plus the metal conductor. The theory is that the connectors are the same on both sides, making it possible to plug the cable in regardless of which way it is facing.
Get ready to kiss all your old iOS accessories goodbye
Aside from the dock connector, we've seen some purported images of the new iPhone's motherboard leak out. Reports indicate that these images all came from a forum thread on WeiPhone.com, although the original images appear to have been pulled from the thread. However, iFixYouri iPhone repair service took those images and overlaid other leaked parts to try and put together a complete assembly, the results of which were shared with 9to5Mac. Unfortunately, there's no look at the CPU, but the parts appear to fit together fairly well. A few points worth noting — the SIM card slot appears closer to the standard micro SIM slot we've seen on past iPhones, rather than a redesigned nano SIM. Another iPhone repair service, iDeviceGuys.com, says that there are more antenna connections present, which may indicate the presence of LTE compatibility. Of course, we need to take this with a large grain of salt until the next iPhone is actually released.
Combine all this with the highly-detailed video we saw last week of the new iPhone's case and front covering and we're getting an increasingly clear picture of what to expect from Apple's next flagship phone. Don Lehman at The Techblock recently posted some thoughts on what exactly we might be looking at — specifically, he focused on the metal back and sides and how the new assembly might actually improve antenna performance over the controversial metal band that surrounds the iPhone 4 and 4S. Just as in the iPhone 4S, it seems possible that the top and bottom will function as the phone's dual cellular antennas, with glass or plastic "windows" that allow Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and possibly NFC to be broadcast without interference.
We'd be remiss not to mention that this all remains highly speculative — and we've certainly seen Apple surprise the rumor mill before. That said, while It may be is possible that we're seeing one of the many prototypes that Apple almost certainly has developed for the next iPhone, the fact that the many leaked parts seem to match up with the rumored case design make it highly possible we're getting the best look at a forthcoming Apple product that we've had since the iPhone 4 infamously leaked back in the spring of 2010.