John Gruber was one of just a few Apple watchers brought in for 1-on-1 meetings with Phil Schiller (Apple's Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing) last week to discuss the next release of OS X and receive a preview build of the OS.
Gruber addresses the potential implications of such an odd non-event event well, but this part struck me:
And then the reveal: Mac OS X — sorry, OS X — is going on an iOS-esque one-major-update-per-year development schedule.
Gruber addresses the issue of Apple finally having the resources to give both iOS and OS X this kind of attention now (OS X 10.5 was delayed because the original iPhone's development strained Apple's resources).
The thing he doesn't mention is how this rapid release cycle for the core computing OS will be something we haven't seen in proprietary desktop OSes before. It's akin to first Chrome and now Firefox being on 6 week development cycles. Many will probably complain that each major release isn't as significant as prior ones, but this rapid release cycle will allow quicker release and polishing of new releases as well as easier course correction of a development is seen as a misstep. Previously we'd only really seen this on the desktop OS side in Linux distributions (Ubuntu famously releases two version bumps a year), but in the Linux world the distribution vendors are often restricted by development of tens or hundreds of external open source products which make up the whole.
It's an interesting time in the world of operating systems, that's for sure.