I am still looking at Lucid to see how it is progressing, there have been some interesting changes. The Software Center is gaining features and it is getting pretty obvious that it will eventually be a one stop shop for package management in the very near future. The open source drivers for NVidea graphics are maturing. Currently the proprietary drivers are causing problems, double log on and issues with Plymouth. Some are reporting that desktop effects are working with the open source drivers, it's not working with my NVidea GT 200 but currently the open source drivers are still a better choice.
Small changes have taken place with the default appearance, the logo in the panel is gray, the recycle bin is gray and more mac like in appearance and some menu icons have been changed. It is rumored that Ubuntu is going to drastically change the default appearance to a silver or gray to have a mac like elegance out of the box. All the signs are pointing to a change and there is a big announcement pending. Mark Shuttleworth has said that Ubuntu has been human for 5 years and has hinted that change is coming. Sorry I do not remember exactly what he said but I would bet that the LTS gets a complete new look.
It is my opinion that the LTS will be competitive with Windows 7 and the Mac OS. This kind of change should have happened before the release of Windows 7, it would have had a much bigger impact. The year of the Linux desktop has passed, only time will tell if current development has any kind of impact now at all. I know that is a harsh statement but lets face it, Windows 7 is not that bad and many Windows users are satisfied with it.
To sum things up, the LTS is reasonably stable for an alpha release, Plymouth is not currently reliable, NVidea drivers are currently an issue and applications are up to date. Everything is pointing to this being one of the best Ubuntu releases to date, all the signs are there but the time has past for being the Windows killer system that many expected to see.