I have to admit, that even though the electronic machines can do more than the punchcard machines, I prefer punchcards.
First, they work without electricity and still can pattern automatically. Second, the learning curve is even steeper for the electronic machines than for punchcard machines.
But that is only my preference, nothing more.
I have to admit you are on to something here. I have a Singer SK 840 which is an electric machine and a great knitter. The machine is a modular machine, which means that the basic machine just does knitting. You have to add the patterning devise with happened to be an EC1. The EC1 no longer works probably because it was from the 1980's. For a retiree like me it's almost impossible to purchase another one due to price. I now have a SK360 and just more than please with the machine.