WordPress 4.7 will be the final major release of 2016, and aims to improve the initial theme setup experience with a new default theme to showcase these improvements.

Of note, the US Thanksgiving holiday is November 24-25 and WordCamp US will be from December 2-4. Both tend to involve travel for a number of people and reduced activity; therefore, we should proceed as if there will only be the initial RC. The feature project merge deadline listed is a final deadline; all features and larger efforts should be continuously evaluated for readiness.

Release Schedule

August 17, 2016 Trunk is open for business. (Post-4.6)
August 24, 2016 4.7 Kickoff meeting.
October 19, 2016 (+8w) Last chance to merge feature projects.
October 26, 2016 (+1w) Beta 1.
From this point on, no more commits for any new enhancements or feature requests in this release cycle, only bug fixes and inline documentation. Work can continue on enhancements/feature requests not completed and committed by this point, and can be picked up for commit again at the start of WordPress 4.8.
November 2, 2016 (+1w) Beta 2.
November 9, 2016 (+1w) Beta 3.
November 15, 2016 (+6d) Release candidate and soft string freeze.
November 22, 2016 (+1w) Release candidate if needed. (Thanksgiving week)
November 29, 2016 (+1w) Final release candidate if needed and hard string freeze. (WCUS week)
December 5, 2016 (+6d) Dry run for release of WordPress 4.7 and 24 hour code freeze.
December 6, 2016 (+1d) Target date for release of WordPress 4.7.

To get involved in WordPress core development, head on over to Trac and pick a 4.7 ticket. Need help? Check out the Core Contributor Handbook. Get your patches done and submitted as soon as possible, then drum up people to test the patches and leave feedback on the ticket. Patches for enhancements won’t be committed after the posted dates, so that we can all focus on squashing bugs and hopefully deliver the most bug-free WordPress to date. Wish us luck!