Re: Even so
"Has there actually been anything genuinely exciting from Intel in 15 years?"
Anything x86 is not exciting since you can only gradually enhance it. It's all incremental like you said and that's the same for every CPU arch if you need to maintain full backward compatibility.
But to answer your question - I came up with a couple of "exciting" things (YMMV):
Larrabee was quite an exciting tech (in paper). It fizzled but that's not what you asked for. :-)
Light Peak looked really cool. Too bad they went with copper instead and renamed it Thunderbolt.