In my eyes, it’s a cynical move by Apple. They’ve focused on (slightly) improving portability and battery life, meaning lower-than-possible TDPs and smaller-than-possible batteries, all to sell more.
I bought a MacBook Air 13" i7 in 2013 due to its all-day battery life and portability (plus a little extra oomph for RAW photo editing). It was reasonably-priced and has always handled much that I throw at it. But it was never particularly performant, and the screen is really nothing to write home about. So, fast-forward to 2016 and Apple have just released MacBook Pros, with more-or-less all-day battery life, increased portability and more power to boot! What results is an increase in ASP, more profit, and more of a mainstream product.
The strength of Apple’s brand means that they can charge astonishing prices and bifurcate their product lineup (MacBook — casual user; MacBook Pro — everyone else) and people will (probably — time will tell) buy the new machines in their droves. All told, this is cynical because it excludes a portion of the “traditional” MacBook Pro demographic in favour of a more mainstream one. This isn’t a display of courage, it’s knowledge of the market coupled with a healthy dose of arrogance.
As an aside, the continuation of the MacBook Air is sure to maintain sales volume in the bottom of the range, and after ~4 years with roughly the same design (aside from numerous internal changes), margins will surely be huge.