New Photos Indicate Previously-Thought NFC Chip in iPhone 5 is Earpiece Speaker

Late last month, Japanese blog Mac Otakara sparked particular interest in a set of photos of an assembled front panel from the iPhone 5 by claiming that a square feature near the top of the part was likely to be related to near field communications (NFC) capabilities. That interest was quickly tamped down when The Loop reported later in the week that there would be no NFC in the iPhone 5.

Despite the fact that the square feature is slightly off-center with respect to the device, we've assumed that it must be the earpiece speaker, and consultations with experts at RepairLabs have suggested the same.

iphone 5 earpiece speaker
Assembled front panel with earpiece bracket removed – bracket and speaker at right

Sonny Dickson has now posted a new set of photos of the assembled front panel that shed some additional light on the situation. A couple of the photos show the square bracket having been removed, and one photo in particular contains a partial view of what does indeed appear to be an earpiece speaker.

iphone 5 earpiece speaker removed
Closeup of front panel with bracket and speaker removed and front camera folded back

Apple is expected to introduce the iPhone 5 at next Wednesday's media event.

Top Rated Comments

chrmjenkins Avatar
112 months ago
This message brought to you by the Fingernail Clippers Association of America
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BuffyzDead Avatar
112 months ago
With NO NFC Chip, Apple is D O O M E D. !!! :p:p:p

They will sell like 75 units total.

/s
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
greytmom Avatar
112 months ago
Good grief. People, it is entirely possible that a woman might actually be involved here.

And for the record, I'm a girl, my fingernails are about that long, I never wear nail polish, and one of my nails broke this morning, so while it is filed nicely, it is shorter than the others.

Sheesh.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michaelgtrusa Avatar
112 months ago
Well more leaks, I really hoped it would have a wider screen.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThatsMeRight Avatar
112 months ago
The truth is, as much as NFC is a buzz word among new tech, especially for "geek ware" like the Nexus 2 phone, NFC still has a long way before getting off the ground.

Companies are still fighting over the standard in payment (much the same as the old Mondo vs. Monster vs. Interac vs. Visa vs. Mastercard fight when it came to debit cards) and retailers are wary to get involved with NFC until a standard is met. In fact, many are reluctant to invest money into something a bank will just offer for free in the future anyway.

Without a standard, NFC is simply a nice thing to boast about to technophiles.
I think you are greatly underestimating how useful NFC can be and how widespread it is outside of the United States. Just to give you an example: NFC is used in multiple European counties for the public transport (think about a bus, train, metro, etc.).

In Asia it is used for even more things. It's really the US who is lagging behind in this case.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NightFlight Avatar
112 months ago
I am absolutely shocked that some people have automatically declared NFC a useless technology because you haven't SEEN it being used, and you'd never use it yourself merely because you don't even understand what it is capable of.

1. Travel outside of your country, particularly to Asia and some countries in Europe where it is used for everything from vending machines to public transportation.

2. Just because you think it is useless doesn't mean it is. How can you not be comfortable using it to pay for something?

3. I've seen it used myself in my area, where it is available at grocery stores, clothing retailers, and gas stations. I've seen people who I wouldn't label as a techie use it as well.


I love Apple but some of you apologists/loyalists are getting ridiculous. There was once a time when Apple had ALL of the cutting edge features, and their phones were HANDS DOWN the best for both their features, performance and for the software. Unfortunately, they've fallen behind on nearly all counts.

If the iPhone 5 doesn't impress me, my current 4S will sadly be my last iPhone.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
apple event particularly innovative article

Gurman: Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Won't Feature Anything 'Particularly Innovative'

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:30 am PDT by
Bloomberg's highly-respected Mark Gurman says that he expects nothing "particularly innovative" or "extraordinary" to launch at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event next week, Tuesday, April 20. Gurman made the remarks during an interview for Bloomberg Technology, in which he reaffirmed that Apple will launch a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the higher-end model featuring a brand new...
duanrui iphone13 notch samples

More Leaked iPhone 13 Samples Show Smaller Notch, Repositioned Earpiece and Front Camera

Wednesday April 14, 2021 1:06 am PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has today shared an image of two iPhone 13 "film samples," which show the same rumored smaller notch design coming to the iPhone 13 series that we've seen from other sources. In past tweets, DuanRui has accurately leaked the correct names of the iPhone 12 models and an iPad Air 4 manual revealing its new design, so there's good reason to think this leak is credible, ...
siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
parallels windows 10 arm mac

Parallels 16.5 Can Virtualize ARM Windows Natively on M1 Macs With Up to 30% Faster Performance

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:00 am PDT by
Parallels today announced the release of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac with full support for M1 Macs, allowing for the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and ARM-based Linux distributions to be run in a virtual machine at native speeds on M1 Macs. Parallels says running a Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview virtual machine natively on an M1 Mac results in up to 30 percent better performance compared ...
iphone 13 pro render rear

iPhone 13 Pro Rumored to Be Thicker and Feature Larger Rear Camera System

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:07 am PDT by
Tech blog 91Mobiles has obtained 3D renders of what it claims will be the iPhone 13 Pro, revealing a largely familiar design with a few notable changes, including a smaller notch and a significantly larger rear camera system. Following renders of the standard iPhone 13 model from MySmartPrice yesterday, which showed a new diagonal rear camera layout, these renders of the 6.1-inch iPhone 13...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...