That was my take on it also. If that's the case, it would be a HUGE change in policy, and one that would probably be welcomed by virtually all adsense publishers.
It's weird. The non-compete part has been there for years. It's hard to believe they would remove it and replace it with "same layout and colors" without a little more fanfare and more explicit announcement from google.
Then again, their market dominance is so good, and their competition so ineffective that I have wondered if they would relax the non-compete stuff.
Right now it's a wait and see, and hope for official public comment from G.