The big news about Oracle APEX from OOW is not so much about what, but more about when. Much to many people's disappointment, APEX 5.0 is still going to be a few months out. The "official" release date has been updated from "calendar year 2014" to "fiscal year 2015". For those not in the know, Oracle's fiscal year ends on May 31st, so that date represents the new high-water mark.
Despite this bit of bad news, there were a number of bits of good news as well. First of all, there will be an EA3. This is good because it demonstrates that the team has been hard at work fixing bugs and adding features. Based on the live demonstrations that were presented, there are some subtle and some not-so-subtle things to look forward to. The subtle include an even more refined UI, complete with smooth fade-through transitions. I tweeted about the not-so-subtle the other day, but to recap here: pivot functionality in IRs, column toggle and reflow in jQuery Mobile.
After (or right before - it wasn't 100% clear) that E3 is released, the Oracle APEX team will host their first public beta program. This will enable select customers to download and install APEX 5.0 on their own hardware. This is an extraordinary and much-needed positive change in their release cycle, as for the first time, customers can upgrade their actual applications in their environment and see what implications APEX 5.0 will bring. Doing a real-world upgrade on actual APEX applications is something that the EA instances could never even come close to pulling of.
After the public beta, Oracle will upgrade their internal systems to APEX 5.0 - and there's a lot of those. At last count, I think the number of workspaces was just north of 3,000. After the internal upgrade, apex.oracle.com will have it's turn. And once that is complete, we can expect APEX 5.0 to be released.
No one like delays. But in this case, it seems that the extra time required is quite justified, as APEX 5.0 still needs some work, and the upgrade path from 4.x needs to be nothing short of rock-solid. Keep in mind that with each release, there are a larger number of customers using a larger number of applications, so ensuring that their upgrade experience is as smooth as possible is just as, if not more important than any new functionality.
In the mean time, keep kicking the tires on the EA instance and provide any feedback or bug reports!