It has been let slip before this years NAMM convention that Yamaha are releasing a new keyboard workstation as an upgrade to the Motif series. The Yamaha XS series is a further devlopement of the Motif Rompler style workstation.
There are a lot of rumblings on the forums as this seems to have found ill favour with many lifelong Yamaha supporters. Improvements are 355mb Rom up from the Motif's 178mb, Colour LCD screen, new ethernet connection, 4 arpegiators and updated multisamples especially the Piano patch which many found a bit weak on the earlier Motif workstations.
The major problem is that Yamaha have not included any of their synthesis engines. The physical models on the VL-1 are gone, no AN as in the ANX analogue modeling series and no FM. Breath control has been removed. To many it seems as if Yamaha are offering a slightly better keyboard with a few more samples.
One thing that may go in Yamaha's favour is that the XS series comes bundled with an LE version of Cubase. Since Yamaha bought Steinberg in late 2004 it is expected the XS series will feature some tight intergration with Cubase. Also the XS series supports Yamahas mLAN firewire protocol so if you have anything else with this Protocol it should work seamlessly with your current set-up.
Obviously Yamaha have decided that synthesis is a niche market and this product is squarely aimed at gigging musicians, players, tv/film and media composers. However I cannot help thinking that Yamaha are going to have an uphill battle with this workstation. Most will see it as a technological step backwards especially considering the Alesis Fusion offers Physical modeling, Romplers, Sampling, FM, Analogue Modeling and a cut down onboard sequencer for $999. The Yamaha coming in at $2799 is gonna have a rough ride. It's success is going to hinge on it's onboard sample library and it's intergration with Cubase.