There have been some technology improvements in high res solid state accelerometers and cost reductions(driven by demand for 2billion smart phones. Couple that with higher slew rate piezo motors that have become dirt cheap and it makes sense that a jump in performance at an affordable price for VR is here. That means Nikon can update a lot of current lenses that are already widely owned, and start another round of never ending upgrades. How many people with 2.8VRII upgrade to a VRIII? Enough to make it profitable to install the new technology in the same lens. Look for the VRIII in an updated AF-S 80-400 that everyone is waiting for.
The f/4 versions of popular 2.8 lens will be very popular. Starting the new line with the 70-200 is going to mean a very profitable year. Regarding the price as being too close to the 2.8, for many, $1000 is a big difference which will open up some wallets by people who just could never swing the $2400 for a 2.8 vrII. That is why I have a VRI. I do not mind the weight but a lot of people do. What is the next one to get f/4 and VRIII treatment?...A baby 14-24? Or a great time to do the 80-400 modernization. I would be tempted by both. I have a feeling that this is going to be an expensive year for me;>) It was enough of a shock getting the 24-70, 24 1.4 and D800 when none were planned.