I agree with your observations and sympathize with your desire for more innovation.
I think the present strategies of Airbus and Boeing can be better understood in the contect of history. In the old old days when the US had at least four major producers of commercial aircraft (Boeing, Lockheed, Douglas, and Convair) Boeing won the struggle through a combination of innovation, artful exploitation of parallel developments in their Air Force bomber/tanker contracts (particularly in the structural design of big wings), and good luck. It all came together with the Boeing 707 (itself a knockoff of the KC-135 tanker), which handily beat out the DC-8 and Convair 880. French and British aircraft manufacturers were the equals of their U.S. counterparts in innovation and design, but couldn't match production capacity and scale.
Now in a mature market dominated by two producers, each the consolidated product of multiple regional competitors, the economic stakes are higher and as a result the design strategies more conservative and closely focused on the economics of operation. The current situation in the airline industry worldwide only adds to all this.
Airbus won its current competitive position through early adoption of fly-by-wire flight control systems which replaced the conventional mechanical/hydraulic systems and more extensive use of light weight carbon filament structural components. The electrical flight control systems in particular provided many subsequent advantages in that with modern. low-cost, redundant computer systems the flight controls could be automatically programmed to adjust gains & settings for existing flight conditions on a continuous basis. This offered many design advantages in the stability vs controllability conundrum which usually permitted only a narrow range of often expensive (and heavy) aerodynamic and structural solutions.
Boeing was behind in these areas until the early 1990s, but has since caught up. Now both companies are caught in a squeeze of comparable products and a lack of product differentiation. I suspect that Airbus' decision to change the game with double deck, high capacity aircraft was made with this in mind. I also think that Boeing made the correct strategic decision to pursue a different course, focusing on efficiency and reliability. Both companies have interesrtingly run into problems associated with decentralized component manufacturing and (in some cases) design.
Both competing models will use modern computer-driven flight control & stability systems and extensive light weight filament structural components. The Boeing model has the potential to offer marginal advantages due to its smaller size - structural efficiency decreases with scale - and, depending on how well they did their job this may be decisive. The economice work in a similar way - a smaller, fuller aircraft makes more money than a bigger emptier one, even if it is less efficient.
The new innovations have their problems as well. Automatic flight control systems have often unanticipated side effects, as I suspect was the case with the loss of the Air France flight over the South Atlantic a few months ago. The carbon filament structures have been around for a couple of decades now and an initial series of problems associated with their non-isotropic strength properties has been solved, but others, particularly involving ageing and inspection, probably remain.