- August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
- August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
- August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
- August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
- August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
- September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
- From 1st January 2013 onwards: Trial editions expire.
With general availability from October 26th. Coinciding with the August 15th date is also the release of Visual Studio 2012 RTM which includes the next version of the .NET Framework (4.5) and presumably sometime after that we might also get the Windows Phone 8 SDK.
There’s some conjecture about when the Release Preview and Consumer Preview versions will expire. Here’s an accepted answer from SuperUser:
To get the expiry date of Windows 8 consumer preview, you should run
winvereither from the search function in the source menu, or simply run the command from "run"
This will open the "About Windows" window, which will show the version and expiry date of the Windows CP install. Source
Alternatively, there’s plenty of documentation and reviews of the pre-release builds; so there’s never a bad time for some professional development!
Now we’ll just have to wait for the first service pack… just kidding.