It depends on how you define leaps and bounds. If you don’t like hardware you won’t find these examples convincing but there are general improvements / trends that I have seen over the years :
Greater polyphony, better tuning stability in new analog synths, increased sample ram, higher resolution midi with 14 bit resolution and reduced stepping, often a more complete midi spec, midi and CV to support connection to eurorack/ modular gear, more DSP on board for integrated efx, use of endless encoders in some synths, increased affordability and in some cases longer warranties, firmware updates that don’t brick the device, better on board LCD (OLED even) screens or even touch in some cases, lighter weight for increased portability, self tuning functions for complex analog synths, smart keyboard functions to contrain to scale and modes, deeper sequncers with probablity and randomizers some with polyrhythmic functions and motion sequecing.
The hardware scene hasn’t been static. Yes you can do all of this on softsynths but that wasn’t your question.
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