I can fully appreciate that what does not look good to me may look attractive to others. Here's my take though, there's a big difference between making a product to solve real world problems that customers demand and making a product with features designed to solve obscure problems in the real world that no-one ever actually encounters but look good on marketing material. Both may sell equally well and be good for business but one is for performance and one for taking advantage of customers lacking critical insight in to the product. I just know which approach appeal personally to me more. As a business though I can appreciate the temptations and difficulties both ways.
The singlespeed sprocket is something that seems more marketing than performance which the hub shells also look in danger of as presented. Anyone who actually spends any time riding singlespeed for example will see a narrow wide sprocket and the advantages described as nonsense. A curious person who has never ridden singlespeed may be otherwise convinced by a whole host of "problems" they never knew existed (and of course would never actually encounter but they don't know any different).
I kind of see the hub shell shape and massive bearings along these lines- look great for marketing but you tell me how many people have "suffered" with a round shell and normal bearing sizes in an otherwise well designed hub? This hub seems to be in competition with Hope, Syntace, Acros, etc and also a lot of prebuilt wheels like Mavic in the Trail/ Enduro segment. I feel the appeal could be wider with lower weight (well I would it is Weightweenies
) in which case a normal shell and smaller bearings would let you achieve everything for a clear market leader (not many light, durable hubs let alone with magnetic freehubs). Hope make idiot proof hubs but they are pretty cheap too so (without knowing pricing) you'd have to assume that is some tough competition to shift.
Ok, rant over
but some hopefully constructive feedback on what appears to be a marketing first approach lately that someone who rides a fair bit would see right through (opinion also expressed by others above). Of course if it is working for AB at the moment then who are any of us to say what is best for business but the above opinion above would be a perspective of a customer originally in to AB for light, highly functional, beautifully finished products that sees through marketing BS (of any company).