How Apple could have avoided much of the controversy
Chuq Von Rospach on the controversial 2016 MacBook Pros:
… in many ways, a lot of the unhappiness I’m seeing about these new computers comes down to dealing with the realities of the Mac itself becoming a niche product to Apple […] all the whining and moaning aren’t going to undo the market forces driving this. Apple is reacting to changes, not pushing them.
As I quipped on Twitter, both of my parents use iOS devices as their only "computers." My father rarely uses his iPad, and runs his business from an iPhone 6. My mother recently switched from an 11" MacBook Air to the 12.9" iPad Pro and uses her iPhone 6 Plus when she's traveling. My brother uses an iPhone when he's not at work, and has said on multiple occasions that he plans on buying an iPad Pro as his "next computer." The Post-PC era is here, and there are fewer and fewer of us that require the power of a Mac, let alone a pro machine.
… the fact that so much of the Mac product line is such a cluster and Apple didn’t acknowledge that makes the criticism understandable and deserved.
My main concern with the Mac product line is illustrated by Rospach above; from the customer's perspective, the Mac product line as a whole feels aimless. The trust built by Apple over the last few decades is slowly eroding, which is evidenced by the unexpected and vociferous complaints emanating from Apple's biggest fans.
To be clear, the new MacBook Pro is an incredible machine (both in industrial design and performance). I maintain that the Touch Bar is going to be a kick-ass interface for non-pro users (which is part of the problem), and the consolidation of ports is going to be quickly forgotten once users get their hands on the machine. I agree with Rospach, the way forward is to communicate the Mac's release schedule without actually saying anything, while educating pro users on the benefits of Apple's design philosophy.