Is the new "ArcGIS Professional Application" as unveiled on this year's UC, and that seems set to replace the ArcGIS for Desktop applications (ArcMap, ArcScene etc.) entirely at the next major release, and as presented in this video:
No, the new ArcGIS Professional Application is not currently based on the new ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET.
So it is still using ArcObjects, just with the added capabilities of .NET Framework 4.5, the Task based async functionality, Visual Studio 2012 support like 10.2, and a new redesigned user interface? "Not currently", does that mean there are (possibly quite far in the future) plans for a migration / integration?
The new ArcGIS Professional App is the next generation of ArcGIS for Desktop and is an out-of-the-box, end-user GIS application.
The new ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET is, as you summarized, a developer SDK based on .NET 4.5, extensively uses the new Task-based async functionality of .NET 4.5, and supports development in Visual Studio 2012.
I hope that clarifies the role of the two products.
I wasn't confused about the primary roles of "ArcGIS Professional Application" and "ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET" as desktop end-user application and software development platforms respectively.
Just wondering - and this is probably an outrageous(!) thought at the moment considering the differences - whether ArcObjects would at some time be superseded by the ArcGIS Runtime as the main development platform for desktop applications, and would even form the basis of the main out-of-the-box, end-user application, "ArcGIS Professional" or whatever it would be called by then...
Yes, if you are planning to undertake the development of a new custom desktop application then you should look at the ArcGIS Runtime first. There are still some areas where it does not offer the functionality of ArcGIS Engine, such as 3D visualization, but we will be doing our best to close that gap over the next couple of releases. It might be the case that your timescale is short, in which case you may need to continue to use ArcGIS Engine but you should consider ways in which you could architect your application that will ease your migration to the ArcGIS Runtime in future. Unfortunately I don't know the extensibility plans for the new ArcGIS Pro app.
It's too early to say, but the ArcGIS Professional App might use some components of the ArcGIS Runtime - just as the current ArcGIS for Desktop already does for 64-bit Geoprocessing.
Will there be a better way to rotate graphics on an accelerated display map in 10.2 or beyond? I'm aware of the UniqueValueRenderer and ClassBreakRenderer options for rotating symbols but that approach didn't work well for our application. The main thing holding us back from being able to take advantage of the accelerated display is the fact that we cannot rotate graphics containing PictureMarkerSymbols.
Are there any plans in 10.2 to add in support for an animation system for graphic/symbols in the accelerated display? We are currently using the non-accelerated display so that we can use WPF animations on our control templated graphics.
For the existing WPF SDK we're currently investigating adding both rotation as defined in a feature service (i.e. on a renderer) and also rotation directly on a symbol. We hope to include this in the next release but we're concerned about the performance implications in the non-accelerated display mode. It will be in the new Windows Desktop API as part of the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET, which only uses the core runtime map rendering.
Regarding animation in the core runtime map (accelerated display mode in WPF), it is on the roadmap and we're aware that it's a significant requirement for many folk developing with the WPF SDK, but at this time is unlikely to be in the next release (10.2.1).