Leica just introduced a new black-and-white only digital camera. I couldn't be more excited, even though I probably won't be spending that much on a camera anytime soon.
When you're into black-and-white photography as I am, the innovations are few and far between. There really isn't that much to do in monochrome that hasn't been done in one way or another over the years. Most stuff that applies to color digital work will also often turn out to be useful, just minus the color, so little effort goes into developing capabilities for the pure monochrome artist.
This is unfortunate, because color equipment really does not work as well for the black-and-white world as dedicated equipment might. The black-and-white films of old (like my favorite Tri-X) were not just capturing color images minus the color. Each one of them provided its own interpretation of how the colors of the rainbow should be translated into shades of grey. Some made greens appear brighter, others might favor reds. None gave you quite the same interpretation which is part of the reason there were so many of them with so many fantatical adherents. You can somewhat interpret digital color images into black and white using filters and other software settings in Photoshop to simulate the sensitivities of the old black and white films, but only to a point.
The limitation often is in the camera's sensor. Those old films interpreted the contrast of the scene somewhat differently from color films. Virtually all of them were able to cover a wider tonal range than color negative film and significantly more than color slide film. With some variations in processing, you could get most black and white film to capture detail across a range of light that no color film could. (This is a nice way of saying that color film will tend to go "black" in the dark areas, and "white" in the brighter sections, while black and white film will be able to capture far more detail across a wider range of "dark" to "bright" values.) Want a different tonal range? Just change film, or use the same film and process it differently. The camera was just a box to hold the film, the film itself could be changed and manipulated in far more ways than digital cameras' sensors are designed to be.
Most digital camera sensors are designed to mimic the capabilities of color film and color printing. There's been some improvement in this area, but few sensors are designed to cover the full nine zone range that black and white films can handle out of the box, and none I'm aware of are capable of handling the 10-11 zones that can be captured by film that is processed in a non-standard manner. This is not a shortcoming that Photoshop can make up for. If the sensor can't capture it, Photoshop can't "bring it out later." The only way to overcome this is with HDR techniques that require multiple images at different exposures in order to generate a single image covering a greater range. Those work well if you are doing Ansel Adams-style images photographed with a tripod-mounted camera, but are useless for Cartier-Bresson-style images shot on the fly on the street.
There are lots of other great things about this, including the fact that the sensor captures every single pixel in monochrome, rather than capturing 1/3 of them in red, 1/3 in blue and 1/3 in green, which is not as useful for eventually generating a black-and-white image. This means that one of the long-standing benefits of black-and-white film will again be realized: unparalleled sharpness.
So a camera with a true monochrome sensor is a welcome addition to the art, though obviously a very niche product. Not in my price range right now.