I think Canon understands it's target market far better than most of the people here...
The 7DII/X looks to be a mini-1D X in many respects. It'll have the best AF of any APS-C camera on the market. 65-pts will push AF point coverage almost to the sides of the frame. 10 fps. Dual cards. The iTR suggests a new RGB metering sensor.
The minuscule number of forum DRones will whine and complain, and say they won't buy it (not that they intended to anyway, in most cases). Meanwhile, the camera will be very popular with buyers.
Whenever Canon (or Nikon) comes out with a new camera, I enjoy trying to reverse-engineer their market research.
It was clear from the 5DIII that they had done excellent research on what wedding and event photographers wanted and hit the bulls eye (while still offering a camera that would be great all-around for other serious users).
I wondered what their market research showed about the 7D. I figured that it would be targeted at sports, birders and wildlife shooters. But I really thought they would up the pixel count significantly and sacrifice higher ISOs, in part to protect the full frame line.
What's interesting to me with these rumors (and I am fully aware that they are rumors) is that Canon appears to have decided to try to reach a balance between resolution and ISO performance, possibly deciding that a 24 mp sensor was just too noisy at modestly high ISOs (Which, by the way, is also very evident in reviews of Nikon and Sony 24mp APS-C sensors, despite what some people on this forum think.)
People love to talk about Canon "crippling" one camera to protect another more expensive model. That's almost always B.S. and it appears it might be the case here as well. By holding the resolution down to 20 mp, they may be trying to keep the noise level manageable at higher, but reasonable ISOs, like 1600, 3200 and even 6400. Even though there may be some risk that potential 6D or even 5D buyers would go for the 7DII.
These specs show a company that knows what their target audience wants and I suspect it will sell very well when it's released. At a minimum, it will certainly outsell the Nikon D400.
the grass is always greener.
" By holding the resolution down to 20 mp, they may be trying to keep the noise level manageable at higher, but reasonable ISOs, like 1600, 3200 and even 6400. Even though there may be some risk that potential 6D or even 5D buyers would go for the 7DII."
I think this depends on the actual cost of the 7d2, and yeah other factors too. when I stepped up from my xsi to a 7d, I was taking a good look at the 5d2 as well but ended up going with the 7d because it had a lesser cost (and because I was playign the field in terms of what I was shooting, kind of all over the place so the 7d was a good fit at the time).
If the 7d comes in at under 2k, then canon may have to refresh that 6d (give it more cross points) because that is the body that will be in danger from a 7d2 under 2K. If it's 2k+ though, then it actually makes the upgrade path more clear. With the 6d at $1600, those who want to step up for things like portraits and weddings have a very valid budget option in the 6d. If you know you are shooting sports and wildlife, now you have your 7d2. And if your further along, then you have your 5 series. I really doubt those that not only want but need what the 5 series brings to the table will buy a 7d2 though, even if it is under 2k.