With the announcement of the App Store for Mac OS X, Apple also released a Java upgrade, and their release notes contain this ominous verbiage for Mac Java developers:
As of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, the version of Java that is ported by Apple, and that ships with Mac OS X, is deprecated.
The release notes then go on to explain more about Apple/Mac Java being deprecated:
This means that the Apple-produced runtime will not be maintained at the same level, and may be removed from future versions of Mac OS X. The Java runtime shipping in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, will continue to be supported and maintained through the standard support cycles of those products.
Mac Developer Program License Agreement confirms the kill
While that alone is not enough to say that Apple is not going to release a version of Java for Mac OS X 10.7, this next statement from the new Mac App Store "Mac Developer Program License Agreement" seems to provide the final nail in the coffin:
"3.3.1 Applications may only use public APIs and frameworks included in the default installation of Mac OS X or as bundled with Xcode as provided by Apple, deprecated technologies (such as Java) may not be used."
(This statement is found in the Mac Developer Program License Agreement as of Thursday, October 21, 2010, at 8:50am EST.)
So as you can see, this "deprecated" line is contained in two different Apple sources, and this second statement confirms that Mac App Store applications cannot be written in Java.
More information on Mac OS X Java deprecation
The Apple release notes for the latest version of Java that discuss Mac Java being deprecated can be found here. I can't provide a direct link to the Mac Developer Program License Agreement; you'll have to create a new account or look at your existing account to see that information. You can also search Apple's Mac Java-dev mailing list, as it is alive with comments on this "Mac Java deprecated" issue.
More news as information becomes available ...
Update: See my article on Apple Mac Java deprecation, what it means, for my other thoughts on this issue.