make references to "fighting with tools designed for previous wars", and that they are kind of, but not really changing magic, I just apathetically sigh.
The added flexibility is all well and good, but I feel like they are not really making the most of this playtest by giving us numerous spellcasting systems to play with, and/or some optional rules to really spice things up. At this point I would settle for a mechanics that, if a wizard tried to explain it to someone, would make sense, or at the least some interesting flavor.
As it stands the mechanics are boring, predictable, and safe, things that I would not normally associate with magic. Let us see the variant magic systems we keep hearing about. Bring back the sorcerer and warlock, and maybe some other classes while you are at it. Throw some optional rules like exhaustion, sacrifices, or other variables at us and see what sticks (3rd Edition's Unearthed Arcana has a lot of this stuff, by the way). This is a playtest, so let us try something out besides pseudo-Vancian.
While I am less than thrilled about the current state (and the future) of magic, I am more optimistic about giving the players the choice to enhance existing abilities or pick up new ones. Assuming everything goes to plan, this could allow players that want complex characters to branch out, or just stick to a handful of stuff if they do not want to bog themselves down with too many options. The problem is if they design abilities that are too good to simply not pass up, such as an accuracy or damage boosting option, particularly one without a cost.
I think that this--as well as flexible NPC stat blocks--would be a great way to avoid a kind of entry bar, without saddling the new player with a simple and ineffective class like the fighter. 4th Edition's Essentials line made classes even simpler, but did not sacrifice efficacy. I am running a 3rd Edition Age of Worms campaign at work, and while I wanted to introduce a new player by having her roll a fighter so as to avoid overwhelming her, I instead opted for a warblade because despite it being slightly more complicated it would be effective for a much longer period of time.
Really if you want to make it easy to teach new people to play the game, make sure that you create a kind of cheap, "red box" product to go with it from the start. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire made it very easy for both the players and game master to learn as they go, and there is no reason why you could not do the same and allow players to ease themselves in. In fact, you could do something like this for each mode of play as people become more familiar with the system.