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Apple didn’t steal CES’ thunder, Mark Gurman did

Mark GurmanMark Gurman
Mark GurmanCourtesy of Mark Gurman

It should go without saying that Apple was not the source for the two scoops (here and here) with which Mark Gurman stole the thunder from the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show.

But with so much talk in the tech press about the provenance of Gurman’s two “leaks,” Daring Fireball’s John Gruber felt obliged to say it:

First, I don’t think Apple gives two shits about what’s going on at CES this year,” wrote the dean of Apple bloggers. “But even if they did, Mark Gurman is probably the last person in the Apple-centric media whom they would give an authorized leak to. Gurman is persona non grata with Apple PR, as his fascinating but in large parts misinformed ‘exposé’ back in August made clear. An authorized leak — to any source — would never contain a detailed description of the device’s appearance, let alone contain enough detail to create realistic renderings.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 12.53.00 PMThis is totally inside baseball, of course, but Gurman and Apple were the talk of Las Vegas Tuesday, opening day of the world’s biggest consumer electronics show (160,000 attendees, 3,600 exhibitors, 6,500 reporter, photographers and assorted media types).

It was another example, according to several reporters — two of them named Warren (Mashable’s Christina and The Verge’s Tom) — of how Apple can upstage an entire industry without even showing up.

But for Gurman to fit that narrative, his latest scoops would have had to come from Apple.

Did they?

I put the question to Gurman. He seemed to resent it.

“Some people get their stories fed to them by Apple. Some people get briefings on or off the record. I get my own stories,” he said, as if reading from a prepared text.

But what about the timing — two big scoops the first day of CES? Gurman denies that their release was timed for maximum impact.

“If I get a big story, I’m not going to sit on it. I’m going to release it when it’s ready — on my own time.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 3.15.32 PMAnd where’d did he get those professional-looking renderings?

Michael Steeber, a regular 9to5Mac contributing artist, drew them from Gurman’s specs. “I get the story,” Gurman says. “I explain what it looks like.”

Is it just me? Does that two-port 12-inch Air, rendered so convincingly on 9to5Mac, suddenly seem less real?

Gurman, like Apple, skipped CES. He was flying from his parents’ home in Los Angeles to the University of Michigan, where he is a junior in the School of Information. His first class of the new year met Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Has Gurman, 20, decided what he wants to do when he grows up?

“They want me to replace you,” he says. “‘Philip is getting old,’ they say.”

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Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple AAPL -0.95% coverage at fortune.com/ped or subscribe via his RSS feed.