Drupal 7 will ship with plenty new built-in core features that replace a number of contributed modules, and in addition to that, Drupal core's APIs have been unified and streamlined in a more efficient way.
Many people have argued that the Drupal 7 release cycle of almost 3 years has been too long. Even though they do agree that it has been perfect to allow contributed projects to catch up with Drupal core which was one of the main concerns when Drupal 6 was released.
Thanks to the #D7CX pledge movement, many contributed modules have been brought up to speed, which in turn allowed core developers to identify a lot of the deeply hidden bugs and limitations in Drupal 7 that we were able to be fix prior to release.
Drupal 7 will ship with plenty new built-in core features that replace a number of contributed modules, and in addition to that, Drupal core's APIs have been unified and streamlined in a more efficient way. There has also been a running joke amongst developers related contributed modules in the past months:
“If your D7 module is larger than 40 lines, you did something wrong.”
While the above quote might sound funny, it's actually true for most modules, if you take away the extra bells and whistles. The main functionality of most Drupal 7 modules is already provided by Drupal core. Which means two essential things, firstly, the core developers have provided a rock solid API that can be leveraged by modules, and secondly, many contributed modules should be so small that they could "hi-jack" the very definition of Features in the long run.
With that being said there is a challenge for the Drupal community: Contributed projects such as Views, Translation, and Relation will play a much larger role in the near future. The problem right now is that these Drupal contributions are considered "arbitrary", but we can see these particular projects moving into Drupal core in some way at some point.
Below we have also included the Drupal 7 January wallpaper provided by mogdesign.