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(Pocket-lint) - Apple has confirmed to Pocket-lint that it will be moving to a yearly update cycle for Mac OS X in the future.

The news comes as the company releases the next version of its operating system, OS X Mountain Lion, to developers, giving them a chance to see how the new features can be used to enhance their own apps.

In the past Apple has had a more ad hoc release schedule for its operating system. To date there have been eight operating system launches since 2001.

Mac OS X Cheeta was  came first in March 2001, with an almost immediate update, 10.1 Puma, released in the September of the same year. Apple desktop users then had to wait until August 2002 to get 10.2 Jaguar and a then till October 2003 for 10.3 Panther. Tiger followed in April 2005, while Leopard took a further 2 and a half years to hit the shops.

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Development of the operating system slowed down to a trickle, presumably as resources within the company were turned to the iPad when it came to getting the next releases out of the door. For the Leopard versions of the OS - 10.5 and 10.6 - Apple moved to a two year release cycle releasing the OSs in October 2007 and October 2009.

The most recent version, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, was released in July 2011 and made primarily as a digital only option to be downloaded by users via the Mac App Store. Mountain Lion, the ninth version of Mac OS X is to be download only as well when it comes out in the summer, most likely one year after Lion.

The yearly model is most likely to reflect Apple's other yearly operating system update; iOS for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

iOS updates has been released every year since the iPhone was launched in 2007.

Now that we know Mountain Lion's successor will come in 2013, the next big question will be what will it be called?

- For more news on the latest from OS X Mountain Lion check out our dedicated Mac OS X homepage.

Writing by Stuart Miles.