I got the idea from the guy who discovered and named the Dunnington Pippin. On the TV programme Apples:British to the Core (sadly not available to viewers abroad, nor to me anymore since she deleted it from Sky Planner... though just learned from a Google search it's due to be shown again...) On the show the guy is seen removing an apple with a long pole with a cut-off lemonade bottle stuck on the end. Simple but effective!
It seems to work better with a notch cut in:
There's still plenty of fruit out there - though I was spotted scrumping by the farmer's wife! Mind you, she is a customer...