What you see above is the next PlayStation's controller, at least in some version of prototype, seemingly connected to a development unit for the next PlayStation (codenamed "Orbis"). The image popped up on Destructoid a few hours ago -- we've spoken with development sources who confirmed it to be a recent version of the next PlayStation's controller and a beta unit of the dev kit, though it's not clear how much the pictured controller will match up with the final product (and the console will assuredly look quite different from the dev unit). Sony's expected to show the PlayStation 3's successor at a New York City event next Wednesday, February 20th, wherein a new version of the company's classic DualShock controller is expected to be unveiled.
Corroborating reports, the pictured controller features a rectangular touchpad in between the standard d-pad and four-button setup, though it's missing the rumored Share button. It's also unclear if the blue light seen atop the controller serves a function -- a stand-in for Move support, perhaps? -- and our sources were unable to clarify. What looks like a speaker grill can be spotted just above a newly lowered PlayStation button, which seems to indicate some form of Wiimote-esque sound functionality built into the controller.
Update: A Sony rep tells us, "We can't comment on rumors or speculation."
Update 2: The above image appeared on the NeoGAF forums today, giving us yet another look at Orbis' new controller. The four face buttons appear to be convex and rounded , a la Xbox 360's gamepad, and the grips seem a bit longer than the PS3's DualShock controller.