That is definitely the challenge, with the amount of "innovation" in the bike industry things get outdated and in recent years faster than ever before. as much as I would like to think dropper posts won't change much will this lifetime warranty still be able to help the rider out with a 15 year old post? only time will tell, but for now it is an exciting catch phrase that has a lot of people taking notice, good on PNW for pushing the envelope none the less!
As an industry guy, I warranty stuff every day - I find most of the manufacturers pretty easy to deal with, certain brands go above and beyond while others follow a little more closely to the wording. But from my point of view some products do have a usable lifespan. Lifetime warranty is great in theory but there are some problems in it's execution as time goes by. Take the Easton example, sure they got bought and that can change everything, but that isn't always the rule...lets say they kept the warranty timeline - How many Haven rims should they have kept? hubs? if they run out 10 or 15 years down the road should they be forced to do another production run of what could be 100 rims in 26"? How many 26" frames would still be in one piece? These are all the questions all these brands have to think about - Its complicated and some people do get left with a bad taste in their mouth and that sucks from a consumer point of view. but how do you manage that? Does a shorter Warranty timeline fix that bad taste and manage a consumer expectation so they don't feel short changed down the road on a product that really has a usable life? From my experience most companies are pretty reasonable and if you can start a good dialogue a pretty decent resolution normally comes through. Just keep in mind your local shop is just your voice between you and the manufacturer, we go to bat for you so you don't have to navigate all the nitty gritty back end details.
As another bike industry guy - I find myself very fortunate to still have a job and have work, but it has definitely been challenging - when we talk about the whole supply chain it goes all the way down to raw material. if your bolt supplier to make your component is late on delivery, your small parts is late, which means your frame is late, which may mean you missed your container ship you booked which means the distributor is late, which means we can't get it to the customer. So many things need to go right these days. You can't substitute parts from what you ordered at a factory level cause there are no parts available to substitute. I have heard of some parts suppliers being 400+ days out for delivery. The good news.. you will see more component manufacturers with OE spec. Microshift for sure is on a lot more bikes for next year, hopefully this bring some value and competition on the OE side of the buisness.
Have had the privilege to ride XTR hubs last year. Was on DT Swiss 350's prior and I can't believe how much less rolling resistance there is in the XTR's. Through flowy sections of trail I am carrying more speed and having to pedal much less. It was not something I was expecting from the new XTR group but probably one of my most favorite improvements.