Wow, we're really far apart on this issue - I'm not even quite sure where to start. For one thing the weight limit for LSA aircraft was pretty much copied from the existing European Microlight category. This category of aircraft was initially where most of the S-LSA aircraft ended up coming from and proved to provide scores of completely safe aircraft for many years over in Europe. As a matter of fact the Pipistrel Virus which comes in well under this weight (circa 630lbs) is considered by NASA to be a very noteworthy aircraft and has won numerous awards and Challenges. The short wing version of this aircraft is so fast it's not even allowed to be considered an LSA - 160+knots from a Rotax 912 ULS ! And I'll guarantee you that Pipistrel did not spend anywhere close to 60+ million dollars to bring it to market. Furthermore Pipistrel has actually delivered into customers hands over 650 of these aircraft. How many has Icon delivered ? And that is just one aircraft of many flying around at this supposed dangerously unsafe weight. Have you ever been to the Aero Show in Friedrichshafen, Germany ? Every time I go I find myself wondering what ever happened to the innovation we used to have in this country when it comes to small aircraft ?
If I had been on the FAA Light Sport Aviation Branch I would have happily allowed Icon to increase the aircraft weight by the actual weight of the stall/spin avoidance device and not a pound more. The rules are the rules and if the engineers and designers can't make it fit they shouldn't get a pass based on some device that doesn't weigh anywhere close to what they were given weight wise. But the rules are different for companies that have millions and millions of dollars. Look at the SportCub - allowed to have an O-360 engine in an LSA as long as they promise to only use it in take off and climb mode - Really ? Do you think Searey, Seamax and Mermaid might want to get a bump-up in weight too ? Well unfortunately none of them have anything close to the financial horsepower of Icon and or SportCub.
The whole capture a different market thing is interesting. I remember seeing Icon at a Car Show and also a Boat Show. It's a great idea if you're trying to sell a single engine FIXED GEAR aircraft. It's a very different thing when you're selling a "re-positionable" gear amphibian and actively telling people that they will ONLY need 20 hours to fly it ! Flying an amphib is VERY different than just a regular retractable gear aircraft. There really isn't any muscle memory that sets in like it does in a regular retract because sometimes the gear must be down and sometimes it must be up. Even though it sounds very simple it is extremely easy to mess up. I don't know how many thousands of hours I had when I started flying the Grumman Widgeon but the whole time even at my hour level I was never quite at ease with it - not like in regular retracts anyway. So to tell people that it's very easy to learn and that they only need 20 hours of instruction seems more than disingenuous.
I foresee a great deal of what I call "The Cirrus Effect" once Icons finally do go into service. By that I mean much like the Cirrus Aircraft owners - people with more money than aviation common sense. People that don't have the time for additional flight instruction - they're too important to be bothered with that. "Afterall this thing has got a ton of safety features built in to it, heck it's just a flying jetski -right?". Time will surely tell.
In summary I'm unable to be favorably impressed by any company that has spent that much money trying to bring a Light Sport Aircraft to market and still not delivered. History is rife with truly innovative, unique and complex aircraft that came to market costing too much and selling for too little to make up the costs.