I am not denying that Canon is not innovating, they are, how else would they be market leader! They have an enormous R&D department, not only for photography, but also medical imaging (I use large Canon x-ray detectors at work, they are very good!). However they dont listen too much at customers. How many years did it take for them to implement Auto ISO in M-mode? Oh, and only in the 1DX, which cost way too much for most people. Do they even have spot metering linked to the chosen focus point? Fokus peaking? Zebra? Intervallometer? No!! They dont listen too much. They are a business, and in it to make money, and that they do well. Canon make a camera, not to be as good as it can be, but to fit a gap in the market. Reasonable, but not exciting. As you put it, "Canon, given their track record, doesn't give a flying rat's ass about "the competition." This is very arrogant, and is sure gonna cost them customers. We saw a little about this in the 50D -> 60D, more or less gimping the camera. In the 70D, they redeemd themself.
Comparing the old 550D with the rather new nex-6 is not fair, but how did the rebel series develop? Sensor, pretty much the same from 550D to 700D (minor tweaks). 550D -> 600D, added wireless flash control. 600D -> 650D, touch screen and articulated screen, also upped the AF (?), 650D -> 700D Changed the knob to go all the way around... Small steps, carefull evolution, nothing big. Though, they are entry level cameras, they could have done more, not keeping at a minimum all the time. But then again, as tools they are good, steady cameras. No denying!
You seem to be relying in part on a few questionable assumptions. First, the fact that Canon doesn't make some change that you or a handful of contributors to internet forums want doesn't mean they don't listen - maybe they're listening to those with other priorities. Second, how many significant innovations result from listening to customers? Who asked for focus peaking (which doesn't work very well anyway) and zebra? They might be nice features, but surely they're simply another example of supply creating demand (but not much, apparently). As for the marginal variations from one Rebel to the next, that's true of most entry-level cameras, isn't it? They're the cameras they sell the most, and companies seem to think (and perhaps they're right, otherwise why bother?) they need to keep issuing new ones every year to keep consumers interested. Frustrating for those suffering from Gear Acquisition Syndrome, perhaps, but otherwise hardly important.
To the extent that Canon appears cautious (as you concede, they obviously don't lack innovation in what are arguably the most important areas), perhaps it's with good reason. Much of the innovation you describe involves mirrorless cameras. I happen to like that technology a lot (as implemented by some companies, at any rate), but there's no denying that aside from parts of Asia the overwhelming majority of camera-buyers aren't interested, and they are evidently the consumers Canon are listening to. What's more, lots of these innovations are rather limited in practical effect. With Fuji, for instance, who appear to be constantly responding to customer requests with firmware updates, you get an innovative sensor with very low noise but images that seldom look really sharp, an AF system that may finally be fast but still isn't accurate enough, and RAW files that are hard to manipulate with even the best software (DxO doesn't even try, perhaps with good reason). Sony A7/7r? Putting superb FF sensors in a small body is an innovation of sorts, and they handle very nicely (though not as well as Olympus OM-Ds), but their main virtue, and the only reason why I bought a 7R, is more than a tad anachronistic: you can now easily use legacy manual lenses (plus most other lenses) on a FF digital camera (if only it had IBIS...). And it's just as well, because as we all know there are hardly any native lenses for them, and, aside from the (quite decent) kit zoom, they're expensive. So far, despite their superb image quality, it's hard to consider them as more than an appealing adjunct to a better developed system such as are provided by Canon and Nikon dslrs or, if you don't need/want FF, Micro 4/3. (One professional's adventures in trying to make the A7/r his main kit are the subject of many entries in his blog, which is well worth reading if you don't know it: http://soundimageplus.blogspot.com/
Of course, those who really want innovation should get one of these:http://www.++++++++rumors.com/new-hasselblad-lunar-titanium-version/
Who else can sell you what's essentially a Sony Nex with a mediocre kit lens in the ugliest casing yet invented
for a mere 7200 Euros, pre-tax?