It may be difficult to properly characterize Solid Edge ST9. Marketing has given us the theme "Expand Your Horizons", and to be sure, the new tools you will find will definitely give you abilities you have not had before. Not only do these new tools help designers push their designs, but they will also help CAD Admins make better use of their time and resouces.
The biggest category of new tools you will hear about will be the cloud. Has enough water passed under the bridge that I can now use the words "cloud" and "CAD" in the same blog post? Don't worry. Solid Edge is not pushing customers out of your comfort zone by making you run software across your internet connection, or storing your data where you can't control it directly. These changes will affect licensing and settings, and expand storage options that you already have. Solid Edge is leaving you in control. Tune in again later this week for a detailed article exclusively on this topic.
File management is another big topic where you will find substantial changes. The big one that I'm most excited about is a replacement for the Revision Manager. I will write an article devoted to this topic, and maybe recruit someone to help write about the more general file management topics for me. Users deal with these types of issues every day, and even though they lack the sex appeal of new modeling features, they are important and necessary.
Next will be translators, including migrating SolidWorks drawings to native and associative Solid Edge part and draft documents. Yes, Migration will now include associative drafts.
Typically my favorite stuff to write about is part modeling, but this year it gets eclipsed a bit by some of the bigger ticket items already mentioned. Still, the ability to add logic to variable tables has got to be huge news in anybody's book. As someone on the forum has already pointed out, this is a great step toward configurator-type functionality within Solid Edge. There are also several other new items such as a spiral curve, solid sweep, and others.
New functionality in assemblies includes a lot of work with patterns. Reusing data and controlling patterns in new ways will be some of the things I'll cover in the What's New in Assemblies article. Also we'll have color management, in-context tools, and more.
Really, there is a wide range of new functionality available in this new release, and I'll be blogging my way through it for the foreseeable future. If you've got questions about the tools, or the experience of working with the new software, there are other users here who have been using pre-release software for some time, and can add perspective in addition to what I've got to say.