I don't see this upgrade pattern to be a new thing for Windows or being like apple, maybe like apple though but a touch.
See, if it weren't for vista crapping things up with Windows, this would had already be the norm, except there wouldn't be a .5 style update like with Blue. The pattern that emerged back in the late '90s early 2000s was 98 being released, then 2000 in the year 2000. xp came after 2001 by one year. Then vista was slated for October 2003, two years after xp. xp was intended as a stopgap measure to update 2000's UI to the Luna interface and improve digital media management among other things. vista was supposed to include the Libraries feature of 7 and a TON of media features, but that fell off a cliff for many years and later ended up with a glassy Windows xp with bloated, incomplete code that required pretty much installing Windows 7 to fix.
Basically, we're behind a few versions here. But instead of releasing a GENUINELY new version of Windows every year and then a complete new one every two, Microsoft seems to be going the correct route of doing a Windows 8.5 style update to improve a few UI things and features, THEN have 9 be released to be a new version. Maybe NT Kernel 7 built on MinWin technology?!