The plan:

April 13, 2016 Trunktrunk A directory in Subversion containing the latest development code in preparation for the next major release cycle. If you are running "trunk", then you are on the latest revision. is open for business. (Post-4.5)
April 20, 2016 4.6 Kickoff meeting.
June 8, 2016 (+7w) Final decision time for feature projects. Merge window opens for any blessed for 4.6. (Note that feature projects can be approved and committed at any time during the cycle.)
June 15, 2016 (+1w) Feature projects merge window closes.
June 29, 2016 (+2w) BetaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. 1.
From this point on, no more commits for any new enhancements or feature requests in this release cycle, only bugbug A bug is an error or unexpected result. Performance improvements, code optimization, and are considered enhancements, not defects. After feature freeze, only bugs are dealt with, with regressions (adverse changes from the previous version) being the highest priority. 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 in just a few weeks at the start of WordPress 4.7.
July 6, 2016 (+1w) Beta 2.
July 13, 2016 (+1w) Beta 3.
July 20, 2016 (+1w) Beta 4.
July 27, 2016 (+1w) Release candidaterelease candidate One of the final stages in the version release cycle, this version signals the potential to be a final release to the public. Also see alpha (beta). and soft string freeze (More release candidates as necessary).
August 3 4, 2016 (+1w) Slot for a release candidate.
August 10, 2016 (+1w) Slot for a release candidate and hard string freeze.
August 12, 2016 (+2d) Slot for a final release candidate.
August 15, 2016 (+3d) Dry run for release of WordPress 4.6.
August 16, 2016 (+1d) Target date for release of WordPress 4.6.

To get involved in WordPress coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. development, head on over to TracTrac An open source project by Edgewall Software that serves as a bug tracker and project management tool for WordPress. and pick a 4.6 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 ticketticket Created for both bug reports and feature development on the bug tracker.. 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!