Lucid Lynx isn't even out the gate yet and already Mark Shuttleworth announced the codename for the next Ubuntu release: Maverick Meerkat. From his post, it's clear that Ubuntu will be aiming to go even faster and with more social integration than now.
So what can we speed up? The desktop experience is about the only place left to do speed ups. Of course, ATi and nVidia hardware still have lots of room for improvement. That will be one possible area for the developers to improve upon with Maverick.
As open source radeon(hd) and nouveau drivers mature, desktop effects will be able to run much more smoothly on more desktops with minimal performance hit. We'll also likely see better effects, too. I like Compiz, but some of the eye candy are just over the top. Desktop effects need to be more subtle in assisting the user instead of aggressively grabbing the user's attention.
The Web 2.0 bubble doesn't look like it'll burst anytime soon. More and more netizens are joining the social movement, although I can't really say I'm all for it being an introvert myself. Still, it's a good thing that Ubuntu is striving to make things simpler out-of-the-box for those who do want a more integrated social experience.
Great ideas often blossom from the seemingly chaotic social interactions between people. A more social Ubuntu also means a more vibrant online community. This, of course, leads to more interchange of ideas. The best ideas can then be cherry picked to further the cause.
By this time, Beta 2 should be out already. Just about.
With all the freezes in effect, expect nothing special to make an appearance. Since Beta 1 the priority has been bug fixing for release day. That's the end of this month which isn't too far off.
Boot performance is hovering just below 20s so maybe the 10s target won't be achieved this cycle, afterall. In that case, expect it to get more attention in Maverick.