The first statement is one that is made allot and annoys me. The major changes, besides the fingerprint scanner, is the A7 itself, Motion Coprocessor, 64 bit architecture, OpenGL and iOS7. All of it combined sets Apple on a path that again changes what a smartphone (and I imagine the tablet) is capable of doing. Again, while Fingerprint scanning technology is not new, the engineering and method used, in the speed and time frame its done, as well as the ability to use any part of the finger, is unprecedented in a smartphone.
The innovation comments, in regard to the smartphone is what bothers me. Apple turned the smartphone makers and industry on its head. Are you asking them to totally revolutionize what we all know and use as a smartphone every year? All the other smart phone players have since copied the formula and arguably caught up somewhat. While Apple might copy/borrow ideas from android and vice vera, on the software level (which many have argued shouldn't really be patented items by any party), Apple is the ONLY company that innovates on a hardware level time and time again. They are the first to adopt new technology and architecture in their devices and work to get the most out of the hardware given the size of the device; Screen, memory, processor speed (cpu & gpu), battery life, wireless, bluetooth, etc. Android and windows device makers are always steps behind Apple in this regard and never are the 1st to innovate anything hardware wise that gets put in said devices. After apple does the legwork they quickly try and copy and throw more specs in a device to compensate, then an Apple refresh and the cycle continues. 64bit is a huge step despite the pundits and its what is going to push Apple as the defacto in the business community as well as gaming community. Transition to 64bit by iPhone developers, over the next 12 months or less will also result in better performance, battery life etc going forward. I'm sure this will be a stepping stone to allow Apple to then refine the iPhone yet again. Lets not forget that the Closed Ecosystem and vertical integration of Hardware and software of Apple is going to allow Apple to create these shifts much faster and greater then any competitor.
But... lets make one thing clear. Apple already innovated the Smartphone with the original iPhone doing things with hardware others never considered. Apple has innovated across many sectors over the years: all in one computer - iMac, Thinnest notebook - Macbook Air, Smart Phone - iPhone, Tablet - iPad. Music - iPod, etc. The pace at which Apple has innovated all of those sectors is astounding and doing so with all the nay Sayers saying their ideas will never be mainstream. How easy we forget. Let me ask you a question, How much more Innovation can one squeeze out of the smartphone? The innovation happened the day it was released. The only other innovating thing that can happen is if the concept of a smart phone became something else entirely.
Incremental enhancements I understand but Innovating, like it has done with the aforementioned devices, among many others, doesn't come annually. No company has ever innovated to the degree that apple has done, in the short span of time in which it has done it. We know Apple is working on other "things" to be released. This "could" include a brand new sector. We know they are eyeing TV and other areas, like wearable technology. Innovation will come but will be solving a different problem or changing the way we interact with another device or hardware. But, when that happens, someone will quickly jump up and say "What has Apple done lately".