You're not really a Mac user at heart, are you, Chris? ;-)
To be fair, the reduction in weight and size won't have come cheap and the newer processor is more power efficient and more powerful, regardless of clock speed. The new GPU is better. For higher end models you get the touchbar, which looks doubtful to be highly useful but will probably be OK and may lead to more useful such concepts. The lack of SD is going to be annoying to Photographers (who also almost certainly use keyboard shortcuts for Ps that are much faster than the touchbar, but not as pretty :-) ), but with TB giving a USB-C style connection, you do have USB available, just less ports.
It is a hard sell, though, if you already have a good machine and you're not in the need of always having the latest. Even more so with the latest Surface Book that was announced.
What I do expect is that the next generation, or perhaps a mid-life update, that improves on the concept of the touchbar, could be very interesting and I applaud Apple for at least thinking about new concepts like this even if this one doesn't really seem to hit the mark.
As for the price - it's an Apple - you pay a premium (as you do for the Surface Book) because both Apple and MS are the biggest fish in the sea and they are offering things that no one else is (whether any given individual particularly likes them or not). Given Apple's primary revenue stream long ago moved to iPods and iPads, if they can't make a decent margin on their Macbooks, they probably can't justify continuing with them.
So I don't think you're really missing anything :-)