Does feel a lot like just moving deckchairs around, or (in this case) buttons. I just don't see the point. 10.4 has a relatively nice clean UI, and it sounds like that's going to be thrown away to make room for more icons.
I remember reading an interview with one of the graphic artists for (I think) Monkey Island on the Amiga, who made a comment about their graphical interface requiring icons for actions. Basically, the more complex the action they were trying to get across, the worse the icons became, until they came to design an icon for "Pay respects to the dead" in 32x32 or however many pixels. That's exactly what's going to happen here.
None of this stuff is going to be really user-friendly. It's going to diverge from GNOME, but worse, it's going to diverge from other Ubuntu (e.g. the netbook spin getting a global menu with presumably totally different icon behaviour). When you have more that one volume control on the screen it's a pretty clear indication that you've lost; only geeks will possibly understand that.