I see a lot of people getting really excited. There is a "virtual launch event" for SQL Server 2012 being held on March 7, 2012. You can read more about the event at http://sqlserverlaunch.com/.
Let me throw out a dose of reality: if you are not on a TAP or otherwise going live with a private build or release candidate, you will not be installing and deploying SQL Server 2012 on March 7th. I promise. This date will not mark a release, go-live, or general availability. These launch events are marketing-centric sessions to get you excited about the product. Will you be able to download Express editions from the Microsoft web site, and other SKUs from MSDN or your volume licensing portal, shortly after that? Sure. The next day? Almost certainly not. I actually don't remember the lag between the launch event (we'll call it a soft launch) and the RTM availability for previous releases, so I'm not going to throw out any conjecture there. But from all previous launch events by Microsoft, across various product lines, the CD/DVD/download has never been available at the same time as the event. Let's not forget that this virtual launch event is not the only "launch event" in March – later in the month, both SQL Connections and SQL Bits are also serving as launch events. Launch and release are similar words, but not identical.
Just wanted to keep it real, and prevent people from getting too excited or planning deployments around this launch event. It is just a marketing event, folks. Worth attending, no doubt, but you won't get magic golden tickets with a download code on that day.
PS If I end up being wrong, I'll just delete this post. 🙂