The latest ArcGIS release, ArcGIS 10, is slated to become available in June with a lot of big updates. Check out ESRI's website to see more about what's coming. They have several informative videos that demo the new software.
Some of the improvements listed include:
- Faster display, smoother navigation, and the ability to run geoprocessing in the background.
- Perform in 3D virtually everything you can do in a 2D environment: modeling, editing, visualization, and analysis.
- Simplify map creation and production with streamlined sketch-based Desktop (2D/3D) and Web editing.
- Use and manage imagery more efficiently on the desktop and on the server.
- New image analysis window for image interpretation and processing.
- Automate common tasks and analyses with Python scripting.