Apple and even some of their fanboys on this forum like to say everything is wireless and wired standards are going the way of the Dodo, but the reality is a lot of people would beg to differ. The necessity for wired connections is becoming less common as wireless technologies move to higher bandwidths and better ranges, but there are some circumstances where wireless technologies just aren't practical(eg. large amounts of bandwidth). The lack of the EC34 slot seems rather odd insofar as that no matter how good you design a laptop invariably some users are going to want one more xyz port than was included. Instead of limiting the end users possibilities Apple ought to break down and include the EC34 slot so that the users can have eSATA , FW400/800, or some older port for an older application(RS232, parallel, etc.) if they want it.
People claim that Apple has to do this to prevent the cannibalization of the MBP sales, but even without the Expresscard/34 advantage the Macbook Pro has plenty of advantages over the Macbook such as a dramatically better graphics card, FW800, and a better resolution even for the 15" model. I think moving to the Geforce 9400 on the MB will do more to hurt the sales of the MBP then had they included Expresscard in the MB. Even Steve Jobs outright said that the graphics gap between the MB & MBP has dropped dramatically. That is practically an invitation for people to second guess whether they really need to buy the more profitable MBP. The old Intel graphics were so underpowered that a lot of games couldn't run well or in some cases at all despite the fact that the MB had a fairly good mobile processor.
Of course, only noobs use USB2 for hard drives. So if Firewire goes, we need eSata.
Now there was somewhere where I thought Apple should have been ahead of the curve(a trailblazer in the industry). eSATA isn't some stillborn standard. I am shocked nobody asked about it in the Q&A. I can go to any Fry's and they will sell hundreds of external HDDs with eSATA every weekend. Even less specialized stores like Staples or Costco sell external drive that include eSATA. The potential number of people buying a Macbook that could immediately take advantage of the eSATA port is probably in the millions, which is more than I can say about Displayport. Furthermore, Apple could have integrated Target Disk mode with eSATA. ArsTechnica reported that Apple submitted a patent application for TDM through eSATA. Maybe it wasn't ready for primetime yet, but if it is ready that would have been a rational port to put in the place of the FW400 port. Displayport on the other hand, I am not so sure about.
How many monitors are there with Displayport? The Dell 2408 and their 3008 and this new Apple 24" LED display whenever it ships. Until you get past single link DVI where Displayport is supposed to provide better bandwidth I don't see the benefit of the move for Apple's customers. I never heard anyone complain that the Macbook didn't support resolutions beyond 1920x1200. The move at least on the Macbook seems slightly self serving insofar as AFAIK Apple is the only company selling mini-Displayport adapters whereas I can name at least two companies selling the Mini-DVI adapters that the old Macbook used(one for about half off the Apple adapter). Hopefully, Mini-Displayport catches on in some of the subcompacts so that Mini-DP cables and adapters are popular(cheaper than Apple) or at the very least someone other than Apple sees the profit potential and sells their own Mini-DP cables and adapters. Except for the pro market where resolutions beyond 1920x1200 exist I don't see a lot of demand for Displayport. For a laptop largely aimed at the consumer market DP seems a little overkill.