You can make the case that the lack of a gold exhaust pipe on a hypothetical electric car - let's call it the Ford Luxury - is not a regression since its non-electric predecessor - also called the Ford Luxury - needed such a thing, whereas no-one is really going to miss it on the electric model. The argument in such cases is that technology has made something obsolete and thus the need to choose between, say, gold and steel has been eliminated.
The problem is that the view (or excuse) that technology has made something obsolete is brought out far too often. GNOME 2 won't let you do something that GNOME 1 did? It's because it's all better, that's why! When the developers famously closed bugs against GNOME 1 because GNOME 2 was new and different (http://www.jwz.org/doc/cadt.html), they illustrated precisely this phenomenon.
People want the benefit of brand recognition but also the benefit of not having their current product compared to the previous one, even though having the same name on the product is inevitably going to invite such comparisons. If you want to enjoy the former benefit, you have to relinquish the latter.