Rumor mill: It appears that Sony may not change the look and feel of the PlayStation 5's controller much from the current generation. Other than a few feature, diagrams of the new controller look to be about the same as the PS4's gamepad.
Sony's next PlayStation is at least a year away, and some allegedly leaked photos of a developer kit shows the company is taking a radical new approach in terms of its physical design. However, according to recently published documents from the patent office in Japan, the console's controller may not look much different than the PlayStation 4's DualShock 4.
Judging from the diagrams, the new gamepad looks much like the current DS4. It has the traditional dual pistol grips and button layout that Sony has gone with since the beginning. It has the same symmetrical thumbsticks that it has had since the DualShock 2, and it has the touchpad featured in the newer DS4 released with the PlayStation 4.
Despite the similarities, the documents do show a few changes, some of which make sense and others that do not. First, it appears that Sony is doing away with the light bar at the top of the controller. While the always-on LED was designed initially to help with motion detection for the PSVR (aka Project Morpheus at the time), it primarily serves as a battery-draining, color-coded indicator to show various states --- flashing white when pairing, yellow when charging, etc.
Its exclusion from the new controller concept, along with a higher-capacity battery, will mean longer wireless playtime.
The diagrams seem to show that it will have slightly larger shoulder buttons, which might be an unnecessary change unless it significantly improves the feel. We'll have to wait to try it out to see if that is the case.
The oddest feature would be what looks like dual headphone jacks where the current DS4's single one is now. It is unclear why there would be two ports --- assuming that is what they are.
It is worthy to note that sometimes patent diagrams are only rough representations of the final design. The drawings could also be Sony's way of hiding the physical appearance while applying for patent protection on newer electronic architecture that it knew would get published.
We'll have to see if Sony was pulling the wool over our eyes once they officially unveil the new system.
Diagrams via Japan Patent Office