There’s an interesting article at Macworld, from my friend Lex Friedman, which focuses on the rapid growth of Mac OS X in the early years, and how, as the frequency of upgrades has slowed, the changes have been less drastic. Lex assumes, perhaps with a reasonable amount of justification, that things will settle down with the iOS before long.
Now when it comes to Mac OS X, consider that, before Lion arrived, it had been four years since Apple released a major OS upgrade. Yes, Snow Leopard came between Leopard and Lion, but there were few feature enhancements. Mac OS 10.6 was meant as an OS upgrade to deliver new system-level capabilities that would improve performance and reliability. Well, at least when app developers made their software compatible.
Indeed, if you didn’t migrate to Snow Leopard, 10.6, you may not have noticed much of a difference, at least until the Mac App Store arrived and gave you an iOS-inspired method to acquire software. Of course, that also became the main destination to upgrading to Lion, so many of you might have been forced to upgrade to Snow Leopard anyway if you craved 10.7. Yes, Apple has a costlier USB stick version, but they really want you to download Lion. And, for now at least, Lion is the only route on the Mac to iCloud.