Weibo reports that the upcoming Sony Xperia Pro model will have a rotating camera ring that controls zoom, aperture, and focus like a DSLR/mirrorless lens.
Because the original post was written in Chinese and it was discussed on a Japanese site sumahodigest, there are several language barriers. As far as we can tell, the camera would have a rotating ring encircling the lenses, similar to that in the Sony Xperia Pro-I.
It sounds like there will be a single ring that controls one feature at a time. It will borrow the variable zoom lens from the Xperia 1 series to go along with its variable aperture on its main camera.
Sony will be unable to build a system that can smoothly adjust the aperture, as on the Pro-I you can only switch between f/2.0 and f/4.0. On the other hand, a ring control would just be unnecessary. Earlier rumors claimed the new Pro would be able to switch between f/1.2 and f/4.0, so multiple steps are possible.
Since the days of physical controls, Sony phones have featured a hardware two-stage shutter key. Even back then, there was nothing quite as elaborate.
Also, the camera ring might not be exclusive to the Xperia Pro. Sony phones (not just the Pros) can be used as external displays for its mirrorless cameras. It could be used as a control for the camera connected to the device.
The Sony Xperia Pro-II may be released next year, three years after the Pro-I was launched. The closer launch day gets, the more detailed leaks we should see. According to a previous leak, Sony will upgrade all three camera modules on the Pro-II. In addition to the Xperia 1 VI and 5 VI, the new Pro model might also be unveiled at MWC next year.