I fully understand your problem happycottontail, I have a magnificent 30 odd year old Discovery and it is loaded with fruit every year(except last year). They are early eaters and are usually ready in the middle of August. This year, as you observed they are not ready. But like you, the crows are feasting on them and now they have invited four Green Parakeets who are stripping the tree!!
It is upsetting as the children in the street love going up the tree to pick the fruit and at this rate there will be nothing left.My neighbour has offered to shoot them with his airgun but I'd rather they(the birds) shared the apples with us. The tree is too big to net.So I am just doing an impression of a demented old birdtrying to chase them away and just admiring the shining red apples that are still on the tree.I have given up fighting life, after all, the bird table that the birds feed on daily is under the tree so to them this is just an added autumn treat I suppose! Ho hum.