jQuery 1.8 should arrive within a month. Here is our thinking about the next two versions of jQuery to follow it, and when they’ll arrive:
jQuery 1.9 (early 2013): We’ll remove many of the interfaces already deprecated in version 1.8; some of them will be available as plugins or alternative APIs supported by the jQuery project. IE 6/7/8 will be supported as today.
jQuery 1.9.x (ongoing in 2013 and beyond): This version will continue to get fixes for any regressions, new browser bugs, etc.
jQuery 2.0 (early 2013, not long after 1.9): This version will support the same APIs as jQuery 1.9 does, but removes support for IE 6/7/8 oddities such as borked event model, IE7 “attroperties”, HTML5 shims, etc.
Our goal is for 1.9 and 2.0 to be interchangeable as far as the API set they support. When 2.0 comes out, your decision on which version to choose should be as simple as this: If you need IE 6/7/8 support, choose 1.9; otherwise you can use either 1.9 or 2.0.