...Performance Workstation (with 'arranger' features). Donny often uses the term "make it your own" when referring to performances. A good premise, one that I wholeheartedly endorse. In fact, jazz is built on that principle. The truth is, if that were one's primary goal, they probably wouldn't start with an auto-accompaniment instrument....but that's for another thread.
Seems to me, reading all the trending 'wish lists' for new arrangers, that aside from new styles (and better sounds - if that's even possible), most of the desired features have little to do with basic arranger playing but more to do with ergonomics, navigation (easier ways to do already-automated functions), aesthetics (grey,black,white), build quality (plastic or paper...uhhh I mean plastic or metal), smartphone/tablet integration, and yes, even weight. Only a handful (Fran) ever mention things like keybed (keyfeel), etc. that actually effect your realtime playing.
Modern airliners can auto-takeoff, manage a flight, and autoland----do everything except serve drinks to the passengers. This makes the captain and first officer little more than system managers (well, until you need to land on the Hudson river
). This makes the aviation world question whether we're creating a generation of pilots without basic stick and rudder skills. Is this an appropriate analogy in the music world? Are we only concerned about the end product (what reaches the audience's ears) and little or nothing about the BASIC processes that got us there. If so, wouldn't an mp3 player and a stash of well-prepared, well selected, mp3s cover about 85-90% of most of your gigs?
I'm just thinking aloud here, but maybe we could remove some of the stigma by just calling it something other than an arranger keyboard; after all, it has evolved to much more than that and it's wider acceptance as a legitimite musical instrument should not be diminished by an archaic label. If you had to rename (relabel) it as a category of keyboard, what would you call it? Just curious.