Just now the Board of ICANN agreed on a resolution to meet with the GAC to address the remaining open issues before they can "asap" launch the new gTLD program.
This meeting is scheduled for February. This leads me to believe that the nTLD program will be delayed with at least another two months. In other words it looks like the Board of ICANN plans to approve the nTLD program at the March meeting in San Francisco. Add to that another two weeks for ICANN staff to update the DAG, and another 2-4 weeks to include public comments and last changes resulting from the next ICANN meeting, there is a fair chance (this time?) that the Final Applicant Guidebook will eventually be published Mid April and the Apllication Window open late August ?
Does anyone have a better guess?