Apple's presumed iPhone 5 is expected for a September release date, and as the month draws near the rumor mill has been churning harder than ever. Early Thursday, a new set of reportedly leaked photos have found their way to the Web, according to Apple Insider.

The images depict sensors, buttons and covers that are expected to appear on the iPhone 5, as well as a protective metal backing for the smartphone's screen, likely to be 4 inches. The leak originated at iColorOS, and shows various components that have already been seen in previous reports. These parts include the home button for both the black and white versions of the iPhone 5, the SIM card holder, internal sensors, a protective glass cover, external buttons such as the volume rocker, and a thin sheet of metal. Apple Insider speculates that this could be a protective shielding for the 4-inch display's back.

However, the image was quickly taken down from the web page, as the link now redirects to a "Lion Server" splash page. The photos of the disassembled alleged iPhone 5 still remain on Apple Insider and Nowhereelse.fr, a French website that was the first to spot the pictures.

Previous reports from the end of July showcased what was believed to be a fully assembled iPhone 5, complete with its rumored longer screen and metal backing. Although the new image doesn't depict an assembled iPhone 5, viewers can still get an idea of what the 4-inch screen will look like. The staff at Apple Insider offered their insight as to what the purported metal piece could be used for in the iPhone 5 design.

"The metal piece could be used as an EMI shield or to separate the iPhone screen from hot components, though the part's true use remains a mystery as the handset's internal design is still largely unknown."

Apple's iPhone 5 is rumored to feature a larger 4-inch display with in-cell touch panel technology, making this the first time the screen size has changed for the device since its release in 2007. Earlier in August it was reported that Sharp had begun shipping screens that are believed to be features on the iPhone 5.

These alleged photos of the iPhone 5 components comes only two days after a report claimed to show the new smartphone's finalized nano-SIM card tray. This design was selected by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in June to be the fourth official form factor for the SIM card standard. Recent reports have said that European carriers are stockpiling these new cards to prepare for the high demand that will inevitably accompany the iPhone 5 launch.

                                                                                                       iPhone 5 vs. iPad Mini

The iPhone 5 release date is expected to be Sept. 21, with an unveiling coming just nine days before on Sept. 12. The sixth-generation smartphone has been generating a buzz throughout the Internet, with the approach of this alleged launch window sparking an endless chain of rumor and speculation. But the iPhone 5 isn't the only major product launch Apple has lined up for this autumn, though it is sure to be the most anticipated.

Apple is expected to roll out an iPad Mini at the same time, and a new survey indicates that more customers want to buy the next-generation smartphone than the smaller version of Apple's tablet. According to CNET, 1,900 people were surveyed by CouponCodes4u and 78 percent voted that they would purchase the iPhone 5 rather than the iPad Mini. Some have said that they would use the smartphone more often, while others have questioned whether a miniature iPad is necessary.

As CNET acknowledges, the reason behind this is that smartphones have become more of a necessity in the mobile industry while tablets are still a luxury item. However, the data does not represent a full cross-section of consumers, since the majority of those polled already own Apple products. More than three quarters of those surveyed already own devices from the company, with 64 percent owning an iPhone and 40 percent owning an iPad.

                                                                                   The New iPhone Display And Samsung Rivals

Apple's reported unveiling of the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini in September comes right after Samsung's Galaxy S3 has seen widespread success, reaching the $10 million sales benchmark last month. The Korea-based company is also expected to roll out its Galaxy Note 2 at the end of August, which like its predecessor, will be a combination smartphone and tablet device.

The Galaxy S3 features a screen much larger than Apple's current iPhone, which could be one reason why Apple is expanding the next iPhone's display to 4-inches.

                                                                                                          Features

Apple has been quiet about the next iteration of its iPhone, but that hasn't stopped reported leaks such as the one mentioned above. Below is a list of the rumored features that are expected to accompany the iPhone 5:

  • 4-inch display
  • Improved quad-core processor, likely manufactured using 32nm process tech
  • Improved graphics and a better camera
  • New Dock connection, likely to be Thunderbolt or mini-USB
  • Tougher glass
  • Thinner chassis
  • International support for those 4G/LTE networks which exist
  • Much-improved iCloud integration
  • iOS 6: many improvements in Siri
  • iOS 6: Apple Maps
  • iOS 6: Passbook, potentially though not necessarily featuring NFC payment support
  • iOS 6: Facebook and Twitter integration

As September approaches, more tidbits and leaks about what fans can expect at launch are sure to pop up, although Apple has yet to set an official release date and price.

Be sure to check out the allegedly leaked photos over at Apple Insider.