Then you must have missed setting which transforms latte to a panel. Latte-panel is just like a regular panel but on steroids. It offers much more features, especially dynamic behavior of the background and colors dependent on the state of the window (maximized or not) and based on the background dominant lightness or darkness. Also if you have colored titlebar, panel can use that colors too. Of course you can make it static and look and work like the default panel but the point of it is that you can have more options to suit your needs.
Once you discover all the wonders of the latte-panel, you will see system panel as primitive, boring option, that has only one pro: it’s lightweight, so you can use it on systems with low RAM (2-4GB) so in such case forget about latte dock too. On newer, more powerful machines latte is a wonder that allow for intelligent, dynamic setups like on any other DE, especially when you add certain applets to that mix. Yeah, mac is inferior to Plasma with latte… because latte offers better dock and better panel plus normal behaving windows (minimize, close and all) with possible global menus, buttons, titles - all in panel, dynamically reacting.