Shimano giveth as well as taketh away. That has been the problem all along, that they taketh away at their whim. But I have to give them credit for a strange and wonderful thing: they have kept friction-option downtube and bar end shifters in their lineup all along.
In addition to these supremely useful items for the truly independent cyclist, they now offer a high-quality replacement 8-speed road STI lever, the R500, for people who just can't kick their addiction to that system. For several years, they penalized their early STI customers by forcing them to upgrade completely and expensively to 9-speed when the levers lost their minds. Either that or take a sharp downgrade to Sora, their bottom-end road group.
They also offer a reach-adjustable road STI lever, the R600, for people with smaller hands. They really need to offer one with a shorter lever body as well, but baby steps are still hopeful steps.
We're all set until they change their minds for whatever mysterious reason compels them to do such things.