Martin Wimpress has posted a detailed report on the work going into Ubuntu MATE, particularly the upcoming 16.10 version that will be launched this October. Some of the key changes involve migrating from the GTK2 library to GTK3. "Some of the old libraries that MATE GTK2+ depends on are unmaintained, deprecated and being removed from many distributions. In order for MATE to remain relevant, the move the GTK3+ is essential. HiDPI, is going to be a thing. Really, it is. With MATE 1.14 built against GTK3+ we have initial HiDPI support working."
In order to explore the potential of snap packages, some of Ubuntu MATE's desktop components will packaged as snaps to see what works and what does not. Wimpress was quick to point out that traditional .deb packages will still be used and available. The new snaps will be provided alongside the classic .deb packages as a technology preview. Additional details can be found in the report.