John Nack has the news from Abobe MAX 2007: "the Flash Player is being equipped to run Hydra, a new graphics programming [and shader] language from Adobe. Instead of running just the built-in drop shadows, blurs, etc. that were added in version 8, Flash (and by extension Adobe AIR) will now be able to run an essentially unlimited number of imaging effects."
"Hydra is tuned to run ridiculously fast on modern graphics cards (GPUs), and it'll be tuned for multi-core CPUs as well...Here's a key point, though: the same Hydra technology is being used to power the fast filters in After Effects CS3. Therefore an AE plug-in developer could effectively also develop runtime effects for Flash, while a Flash developer could leverage her work inside AE." I hope that Adobe-native effects export as runtime effect in exporting to Flash formats from AE.
Nack continues, "AIF/Hydra engineering manager Kevin Goldsmith has posted a bit more info on his blog." For more good details, see The obligatory post on Hydra by Tinic Uro San.
Update: Darin Cardani of Apple gave a presentation at Cocoaheads/LA on writing an FxPlug, Apple's image processing plug-in architecture (SDK Overview) that lets you create new effects for Final Cut Pro and Motion. For a while you can download a video of the presentation.