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After hiring Nathan “Dinnerbone” Adams who will be working on Minecraft full-time, Mojang has cracked down and managed to get a lot of tweaking and bugs fixed for this upcoming snapshot and eventually the upcoming patch. Mojang has also announced an official release date for upcoming patch 1.3. August 1st, 2012 is their goal for Minecraft 1.3.
This upcoming update is going to have a “huge” amount of changes, the developer said, some of which that to the “fundamental game engine”. One of the more “dramatic” changes they’ve made is to the single-player mode and made it a “shell” on top of the multi-player mode. They mentioned a few major benefits to this change, one of which is that it is required for the modding api. Secondly, if a bug is fixed in single-player they will know that the bug is also fixed in multi-player, so in the long run that may just be a very helpful change.
One of the big things a lot of people are looking forward to is the modding api, unfortunately that will not be available to players until update 1.4.
If your looking for a lot more information, Mojang has a very extensive post on the changes consisting of the good, the bad and the ugly. If you want the full change log too you can check out the Reddit post.