A 2003 iSight sitting on top of a 2012 iPad:
The iSight was built to work with a great many products, and as a result is extensible. The lead is a standard Apple firewire lead nested inside an adapter which can fit onto many different attachments. On the attachment, there’s a thumbscrew, so that same clear plastic hook can join onto items of many different thicknesses (such as the iPad). That’s four levels of modularity.
The iPad was built to be useful for two years, tops, before being replaced. Its dock connector is already out of date. Its case is incompatible with the previous model.
Which is better designed? Which will retain its value longer?