The 17” MacBook Pro used to be the ultimate pro machine. It had many ports, ensured high resolution, and it held onto Express Card (when every other Mac laptop ditched it). Now the ultimate pro machine is the 15” retina MacBook Pro. So, the 17” is gone now, as the 15” retina MacBook Pro has taken its place.
A unified line of MacBooks will emerge. The retina display will eventually come to the MacBook Airs as well. When this happens, there will be three sizes of laptops: the 11” Air, 13” Air, and the 15” Pro. The naming will be less important, because no longer will the names be located below the screen (they will be on the bottom of the laptop, much like iPhone and iPad). It will be a completely unified line of MacBooks with just three main models.
The old-style 13” MacBook Pro and 15” MacBook Pro will disappear. These machines shouldn’t even be sold right now. The resolution of the displays are too low. The display has horrible glare because of the extra layer of glass. They include an unnecessary optical drive. The default drives are spinning hard drives instead of SSDs. These old-style MacBook Pros are legacy machines that don’t make sense for anybody to buy. They are only temporarily bridging the price gap and weening off the masses who think they need an optical drive and don’t understand resolution or the benefits of SSDs.