The Akai Advance MIDI controller range are a new concept that marry the notion of the Arsenal Plug-in host we first saw with Trigger Finger Pro - according to Dan they "share the same DNA". Essentially its Akai's take on the holy grail of total integration we've been hoping/looking/waiting for.
Essentially it works in tandem with a VSTi host (VIP in this case) for up to 8 plugins, the VIP host can run in AU, VST and AAX instances from with in the DAW. Very simillar to the Arsenal concept. Parameters are then mapped to the controls on the Advance keyboard which inlcudes a large display. Akai say that there are some (not many) plug-ins that aren't compatible, and that they are working on manually introducing them as they are made aware of them.
It certainly looks promising, and comes with a shedload of included plugins and additiona AIR instruments etc.
State of the art for super-wide workflow enhancement