In a big surprise, Microsoft is looking to Apple for inspiration, and these documents contain high praise for Apple's "virtuous cycle" of UI quality and user productivity. They even seem to have looked to Apple for hardware design inspiration for a Windows 8 prototype machine (though they missed the mark - it's ugly). They're putting some thought into new ways of doing user authentication, including facial recognition via webcam. They're putting a lot of thought into how new, smaller and non-PC form factors are going to affect the computing landscape, though they plan to focus their energies on Slate, Laptop, and All-in-One form factors. But in a recognition of smaller device trends, they're putting energy efficiency and fast booting as major goals.
Probably the most interesting feature in the plan is "push button reset," which is something that I've been asking for for a long time. When your machine starts to act up, or maybe you suspect a malware infection, you can automatically reinstall Windows while retaining your personal information.
And of course, Microsoft is planning an App Store for Windows. It seems that everyone has realized that as much as Apple's app store concept robs the PC ecosystem of some of the essential essence of what made the PC great in the first place, the convenience to the user, and the revenue potential to the operator of the App Store is just too good an opportunity to pass up.
Engadget has more analysis.