In The best laptop ever made, Marco Arment outlines just how great the previous-generation MacBook Pros were. He does not say this directly, but obviously alludes to the multiple problems with the current MacBook Pros.
Really, almost all changes in the new MacBook Pros made them worse: unreliable keyboard, no useful ports, no MagSafe, worse battery life under load. All this with no meaningful improvements to performance. And nobody seems to care about the Touch Bar.
I don’t know whether Apple internally even think they’ve made a mistake with the 2016 design, but let’s pretend they do. If they just go back to the 2012 design next year, they will thus admit they’ve screwed up with the design. And that’s not what Apple usually does. But the 2012 design with the newer guts is what the market wants — at least until Apple comes up with a design that is actually better, and that takes time.
So how can they both satisfy the market and preserve face?
They still sell new 2012-design MacBook Pros. I think they will continue to do so, and will update those machines. Maybe they will rebrand them as “Classic” to contrast with the “Touch Bar” models, at least when they talk about them.
So, in year 2018 we may see updates to both lines. The Classic MacBook Pros could get faster processors, better displays and a couple of USB-C ports. The Touch Bar MacBook Pros could get a reliable keyboard, and to make them look super-cool, maybe, Face ID, if that’s not too early.
And by the year 2020 or so Apple will hopefully do another redesign, and we’ll see if it’s good enough to finally abandon the Classic line.