No one except maybe Bobbi and a few others know when it will be out. The ePSXe team has found that it is better not to try to make promises or hint at definite release dates. I agree w/them.
As for what is new, sound is being worked on, compatability is being worked on, I believe (though I'm not !00% sure on this one) speed is being worked on, there are other things too, but I'm not sure what they are. I don't know about linkup support, but I do believe this has been mentioned. We'll just have to wait and see.