I like all of the presented changes VERY much!
Population as the basic factor for colony output, the "center of gravity" aka production wheel with population either generating production, research or money, the ability to control this setting for individual colonies if one likes, the one building queue for infrastructure and ships, getting rid of some units where necessary etc.
All of this is straight forward and will make the game more intuitive for new players and less baffling for them, I think. I can remember my first couple of games of GalcivII (having played MoOII a lot, among other 4X-games), trying to figure out why high population does not increase production but decrease morale, why churning out factories and labs would just force me to reduce spending because you hadn't produced economic buildings, the difficulties to figure out what adverse or positive effects morale had etc. Add to that the nonlinear and therefore difficult-to-grasp nature of most of the background mechanics (again: influence of happiness buildings), it took a couple of sessions to learn to shepherd the game first, before I could really start playing it.
So again, I really really like all the changes and am looking forward to playing the game.
If you could now make the ships look less like jet-fighters and more like "real" starships (like in Sins of a solar Empire or Babylon 5), and take out the humor (for me, it breaks the immersion) I would be completely satisfied
Keep up the good work!