Yes, it's true. I played DnD 4E on Sunday. The occasion? Some friends purchased the new "Essentials" line of DnD products for their son, and were looking for some players to try it out.
Here is a picture of the easel pad sheet taped to the wall, providing the rules for character actions. Having that sheet taped to the wall as a reference felt a little like being in a brainstorming session at work.
There were three 200-page rule books at the table (the Rules Compendium and two different Player's Handbooks) and I believe our friend also purchased a Dungeon Master's Kit. Having not already been familiar with the contents of those three books, it was a touch overwhelming, and we seemed to spend a fair amount of time refering to the rulebooks during combat.
We played through 3 combat encounters, and visited the local town for rumours, all in four hours of gaming time.
I enjoyed spending time with our friends. The DnD experience itself? Sure, i'd play the game with them again, but I find 4E to be too mechanical and combat-centric for my tastes.