Your points make sense; I would call your preference a "form follows function" design. I would prefer that format too, if I had to look at my keyboard to find the right keys - not to imply that you do, but I don't - on a standard ANSI layout, I touch type. So, when I look at my keyboard it is to appreciate it as a piece of art, not to find keys. When I approach my keyboard I look at it, and want to think, "Oo! I do have a pretty looking keyboard!" and then, once I have my hands on it, I just want to FEEL how nice it is, since I'll be looking at my screen 100% of the time after that, and only seeing the keyboard peripherally.
I wonder if that's where/why we are disagreeing. Now both of our perspectives make sense to me. I want my keyboard to be a functional piece of art, and it sounds like you want it to be consistently designed with what you are used to. Does that sound right to you? I wonder what the tally would be if we polled all of these elite keyboardists? Not that either of us are going to change our minds - I'm just curious. :-)
I think we've gone way off topic here, and should perhaps carry this on in its own thread. But I'm glad that we managed to share our ideas, and back away from the battle. Thanks! I am mostly sticking around this thread now, with the extremely small hope that the TAB and ~ might be offered at a reasonable additional price; and to offer color help, if needed.