It’s not really a big surprise that MS is working on a service pack (SP) for Vista. The two things that may come as a surprise to many are how soon after launching the SP might be released (November, less than a year after launch) and of course, why:
“Windows Vista is not even a year old, but Microsoft is already orchestrating the launch of Service Pack 1 (SP1) Beta 1 for the week of July 16. Many companies will not even touch a new Microsoft operating system until the first service pack is released, so the quick rollout of SP1 isn't totally unexpected.”
If many companies wait to buy until the first SP is out, then it might encourage MS to release the first SP earlier than they have with previous OSes. Whether or not that means less fixes & new features is certainly debatable.
Either way, it seems as if a beta of the SP should be available sometime in July. The beta should include, among other things, the following:
Improvements to ReadyBoost
Faster File copying
Unspecified BitLocker Improvements
Support for SD DMA