When designing new products there are several ways to go: make better an existing technology, generate a whole new means of making music, or work on removing existing limitations.
Take for example the volume control. For years we struggled with building great sounding volume controls: high performance pots, stepped attenuators, light dependent resistors.
In almost every case we ran up against the limitations of a particular technology. Pots and stepped attenuators sounded the best but were mechanically controlled devices that didn't take well to becoming remote controlled. We removed those limitations by adding motors that followed the commands of our remote controls.
Unfortunately, these electro/mechanical solutions themselves were limited. Controlling the balance was a challenge as well as just the clunkiness of motors and the channel to channel symmetry.
Over time those limitations were overcome with solid state circuitry that perfectly lent itself to remote control but, unfortunately, did not sound as good as their electro/mechanical counterparts.
Hard work and lot of progress later, it's easy today to outperform a mechanical pot or stepped attenuator in both sonic performance and useability.
As in my post about eras, working to remove limitations often results in long term improvements but, like anything, there's a long and involved process to get where we want to go.
Once we have arrived, everyone benefits from the journey.