To judge by marketing hype and iPhone mania, most people live in perpetual anticipation of the next super product: a bigger plasma-screen TV, a sleeker BlackBerry, a more shock-absorbing running shoe. But the truth is, many consumers bemoan the incessant rush of innovation that pushes manufacturers to tamper with products the consumers feel are already perfect.

Their grief is not just nostalgia. Drivers who miss the subcompact Japanese cars of yesteryear, and runners who yearn for the discontinued New Balance 855 running shoe with an anti-pronating roll bar, are victims of ?feature creep,? said Jon Linkov, a managing editor at Consumer Reports. This phenomenon, generated by market forces, media hype and twitchy retailers, creates a cycle in which products are constantly improved even if they don?t need to be.

Feature creep, Mr. Linkov said, transformed a typical 1980s BMW from a nimble and relatively small car into the heavy luxury liner of today. ?Here was a company that talked about ?no cup holders,? ? he said. ?You?re supposed to be driving, not drinking in your car. Now they are power-everything, bigger, heavier in every way. They are these luxury tourers filled with leather and wood.?

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