An aspherical fifty lens at the entry-level is a simple but important step for photography. This seemingly trivial modification to the design in this day and age is going to place this lens in a performance domain not normally associated with this kind of product. That is likely to go unnoticed by the target audience for the lens but that makes me excited about this lens which otherwise would be a complete yawner.
There are only three other such lenses in existence today that we can compare this lens against: the Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH, the Canon EOS 50mm f/1.2L and the Sigma EX 50mm f/1.4. While the Summilux is probably the best lens in the world, the other two offer underwhelming value in my opinion (now I'm sure I'll get some flaming comments). This new lens is slower than either of these, true, but is likely going to perform much better.
Where Nikon held back on performance is with the coatings – this lens looks to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors and avoids premium coatings that would permit it to compete with the all-spherical f/1.4G. That is something I am going to take a deeper look at when a copy of this lens makes it to my house. At the likely price point (say, half of the f/1.4G) I may just have to buy one as a toy.