Frankly, I tend to agree with Chris that Java isn’t likely a make-or-break deal for Apple at all. However, I think there is a compromise.
Steve, join the OpenJDK project.
With the new(ish) found support for Ruby and Python, Apple has demonstrated a willingness to provide basic support for languages/environments that have, lets face it, a marginal impact on the common user, but that developers love. The thing is, with Java moving to a completely open source model, Apple could see even better support with fewer dedicated resources within Apple. The problem is, OpenJDK is missing things like the OSX LAF and AWT Peers. If Apple would contribute their implementations to the OpenJDK project, they might find even better support with less dedicated Apple resources. Then just give it resources similar to what you give Ruby or Python to clean up and QA for distribution.
While it is anecdotal, it seems to me that, much like Ruby, the *majority* of Java developers work on Macs. I have a hard time believing that we, as a community represent a smaller base than the graphic design community. Moreover, over the next few years failing to support the Eclipse-based Flex Builder and other tools from Adobe might serve to alienate one of your larger ISVs.
If Java isn’t a priority for Apple, hey, I understand. But let the community build on the fine work you guys have already done, and keep Apple relevant to the thousands of Java developers who use it, Ruby developers who want to use the new support in NetBeans, and users who use apps like Azureus regularly.