The high-school blogger who’s been cracking Apple’s secrets
FORTUNE — Trying to scope out Apple’s AAPL product plans in advance is serious business for a small army of tech journalists, one that has been dominated in the past by the team that covers the company for the Wall Street Journal.
But in the walk-up to this week’s World Wide Developers Conference, everybody — including the Journal — got scooped by an 18-year-old kid named Mark Gurman who goes to high school in Los Angeles and writes on the side for Seth Weintraub’s 9to5Mac.
Let’s review, with the benefit of hindsight, the WWDC predictions Gurman posted over the past month:
Seven out of eight ain’t bad, and I suspect that the one that we don’t yet know about — his report that Apple is bringing the Retina display to the rest of its notebook line — will eventually be proven true.
I ran into Gurman in San Francisco, where he is attending Apple’s developer sessions. He clammed up when I asked him where he gets his stories. But Weintraub — who hired Gurman two years ago when he realized the teenager had his finger on Apple’s pulse — was more forthcoming. Some of his stories come from sources inside Apple, but most are based on what used to be called old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting — poring over Apple’s published documents and building a network of Apple developers and parts suppliers that he hammers relentlessly.
Gurman is a little worried that the attention he’s been getting — we wrote about him last week and Bloomberg News mentioned his work on Tuesday — could bring down Apple’s wrath.
But he also craves Apple’s recognition. He lights up when he hears that Apple public relations has asked about him, and he mentions proudly that senior VP Phil Schiller knows who he is. It turns out that a few months ago, someone (not Gurman) called Schiller claiming to be Mark Gurman and asking for information about future Apple products. I’m told that Gurman got a call the next day from Apple PR saying that if he wanted any information about the company, he should go through their department.