They proposed a much more radical redesign with entirely new less hightly swept supercritical wings, fly-by-wire controls and new engines. This is a much more conservative update. Most of the technology updates for the 747 have been already developed for other programs. The wings have the same structural parts as the 747-400. The engines and avionics upgrades and interiors are borrowed from the 787. The wing tip concepts, landing gear and windows are borrowed from the 777. The wing control surfaces will be redesigned to be simpler and lighter.
Good idea. Keeps development costs down, doesn't stress the manufacturing lines. The product delays with the 380 won't hurt either.