updated 05:30 pm EDT, Mon March 12, 2012
Widespread testing expected by end of week
Apple is on the verge of releasing the first external beta of OS X 10.7.4, according to AppleInsider sources. An initial build is expected to reach a small group of developers "within days," followed by another one targeted at all Mac developers, likely by the end of the week. Although the exact contents of the update are a mystery, it's anticipated to be another maintenance release.
Based on normal beta schedules it will likely take several weeks or more before the finished update reaches the public. Despite its low version number, v10.7.4 could be the last or second-to-last update for Lion; OS X Mountain Lion is due to launch this summer, roughly a year after its predecessor. Apple is switching to an annual update cycle for OS X, made more tenable by the Mac App Store and low upgrade pricetags.