Yes, many golfers who notice a 12 yard increase in distance per iron will think this new iron is "better" because it goes farther. In the irons, for all golfers, the lower the loft and higher the COR, the farther they'll hit the ball. Some golfers are "wise" to the companies that move lofts down just to create more distance to sell more clubs. Many are not, and only think of irons in terms of the head number on the sole. So for these golfers, they can be tricked into thinking that since they hit their new 9 iron a club longer than their old 9 iron, that must mean the company has a really gee whiz design technology, when in reality it may just be a lower loft than they played before.
Then too you have the situation with some golfers in which they don't want to hit each iron number longer than they do now. These golfers know if they get a club more distance from whatever reason, be it lower loft or higher COR, they know they are going to suffer from some sort of a distance gap problem somewhere in their set.
Typically a golfer does not start to think about going for more distance in the irons and thus shopping for a higher COR iron unless, because of injury or age or whatever reason, they are losing distance. We all tend to play the same courses so we all get used to hitting a certain number iron on each hole. When a golfer starts to realize he has to grab one more club or two more clubs to get the ball to the green, that's when the thought of " gee I wish I could still hit my X-iron from here like I used to " starts to come into the brain.
Thus in the market today, higher COR irons, such as the Wishon 770's or 870's, tend to be more for golfers who have lost clubhead speed, or, never had the clubhead speed to begin with because they were just not that athletically inclined or never developed a good turn and good wrist cock release.
But really, as long as the golfer makes sure he has a club for each distance he faces, there's really nothing wrong with using a higher COR iron to gain distance to hit less club into the green. That tends to breed more confidence because we all feel better when we know we're hitting less club into a hole than before.
But this isn't the way it works with lower lofted irons - no matter what, it is always more difficult to hit a lower loft club as consistently well as one with higher loft. So if a golfer buys a set with tricked up lofts, they might think they feel better about hitting a 7 iron into a green where before they had to hit a 6 iron. But after several rounds, they'll find that "hey, I don't hit my new 7 iron as consistently well as I hit my old 7 iron, even though when I hit it well it goes farther." That is because you're not hitting a 7 iron, you're hitting a 6 with a number 7 on the sole!
This is why a higher COR iron is better in the end - to get more distance with the same loft also allows for keeping consistency.