Hidden away within a torrent of updates and announcements at Apple's WWDC 2012 was the news that they are discontinuing the 17-inch MacBook Pro (a machine which I am writing this post on!) I am a lover and user of this desktop replacement laptop.
Do you realize what this discontinuation means? If the logic board fries on this laptop while writing this post it will never even exist!
All joking aside the 17-inch MacBook Pro's disappearance is a little more than a personal problem, its a community problem.
While the laptop has traditionally been unpopular with consumers, professionals and special users require this type of computer. Anyone that wanted (or required) a (slightly) portable, powerful desktop equivalent computer have been relying on this class of laptop since the PowerBook G4 first appeared, which Wikipedia lists as January 2003. There simply isn't enough screen real estate on a 15 inch to have a bunch of windows and dialogue boxes open.
While there was no official announcement/obituary both the online store and retail stores are completely lacking that model. Maybe Apple will reintroduce the grand-daddy of all Mac laptops at some point, but this will be a significant technical hurdle today.
If the device were to exist it would certainly come equipped with a Retina display, as on the current 15 model that was announced. Today that resolution on a 17-inch MBP would be equivalent to 3840x2400 resolution, which would require additional technical hurdle to be solved (since the new OS X uses up sampling to create a high-quality image). Basically one pixel of screen coordinate becomes 4 pixels since it is doubling the pixel density.