1. i am not sure when it is going to be released, but there is a rumor about that, including rt wireless trigger... and my best guess is that this is an e-ttl flash, not manual
2. i would prefer both e-ttl flash and manual flash (depend on situation, further explanation will be shown with below image. you can get a yn-560ex ii for manual flash for cheap price. i bought these two for $55/each at local camera show).
3. as verysimplejason already said, 85mm f/1.8 is pretty good for portrait. i am using 50mm on my crop frame and i am pretty happy with it, yet i am kinda lazy in changing lens (note: as i have mention in this forum before that 50mm f/1.4 is pretty good even as wide open. i am not hesitate to shoot at f/1.4 as if i am in need of it. the way i see it, it is tack sharp at f/3.2)
here is one of those times/reasons that i am using e-ttl, shooting candid image of my daughter with my neighbor (below image was shot with 30d, 50mm f/1.4, 430ex ii and a circular linear filter. this image is linked from facebook since i shot couple months ago.)
here are other images of my younger daughter, shot with 30d, 50mm f/1.4 in my room (note: available light, first one at f/1.8, second one at 2.2. much of light from second image was from the smart phone since she headed down. i just snapped these two.)