Over at WinRumors, Tom Warren postulates that the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 download will be arriving soon
. In addition to the general availability of an SP1 blocker tool
since November, Warren notes that a patch delivered Tuesday
updates the installation software in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The knowledgebase article states "The installation software is the component that handles the installation and the removal of software updates, language packs, optional Windows features, and service packs" -- so an update to it would certainly lay the groundwork for a big-time update like a service pack.
Microsoft, of course, only states that Windows 7 SP1 will arrive "in the first half of 2011." While January certainly fits that description, we'll just have to sit tight and wait for the download to go live. It took about 6 months for Vista SP1 to go from beta to RTM, and Windows 7 SP1 went beta in July -- which would make January right on schedule if Microsoft is trying to stick to a similar timeline.