I know what you're driving at here, and I see points on both sides of the issue.
First I have to say though, that Watson is kicking Sherlock's butt at the moment. So I think we need another example of Apple's tendency to incorporate what it wants into its OS package while "destroying" the original product.
Second, we here at O'Reilly try to support developers best we can. That is our passion. Sometimes that support includes hooking programmers up with entities that can help them. In the case of the "Mac OS X Innovators" contest, we're working with Apple Developer Connection (ADC).
The point that I'd like to make here, is that the ADC is the developer's advocate *inside of Apple* and they take their job seriously (and it is not an easy job). It was their idea to offer 3 Premier and 3 Select memberships for the winners of these contests. Then, they even came back on their own and said, "We want to add a hardware credit to the runner up prizes." They want developers to succeed.
In my mind, ADC is serious about finding ways to help developers, and their backing of this contest is just one example. They have also been ardent supporters of Mac DevCenter.
Now, does that mean that Apple won't poach a good idea if they see one? There are no guarantees here. That could happen. All sorts of things could happen. No one should be under the illusion that Apple is your friendly hardware company that always acts in the best interests of every one of its customers. And if you are under that illusion, Wake Up! Apple is just as tough and mean as every other kid in this rough technology neighborhood.
On Mac DevCenter we're pushing forward no matter what happens. We're going to run this contest, we're going to improve the software directory, and we're going to provide a place for developers to write about the cool things they've discovered while working on Mac OS X.
And in the end, there will be a lot more good than bad happening in this arena.