I just found this article on The Verge. This is the first that I have seen of an idea that could maybe actually let Canon become a competitor in the mirrorless market (assuming current performance difficulties of the M series are notwithstanding).
At this point, without something like this to come out of the Canon’s camp, I don’t think they will have a chance in the mirrorless market. Even if they release something that’s more on spec with current offerings from Panasonic, Sony, Fuji or Olympus, I think Canon’s delay in producing has sort of turned their own users looking for a similar product against them.
But, as fashion seems to more commonly a factor in these kinds of purchases, having something that looks like the AE-1 would probably make them relevant in the space again. Just like how slapping a red dot on Panasonic cameras, or Hasselblad on Sony cameras add a perceived difference in quality and as such a superior price tag. Just the end goal here is catchup instead of luxury.