Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

The high-school blogger who's been cracking Apple's secrets

June 12, 2012: 2:52 PM ET

In the walk-up to this week's big keynote, nobody had more scoops than Mark Gurman

Gurman at WWDC. Photo: PED

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:

May 11: iCloud beta website reveals plans for Notes and Reminders web apps, affirms iOS 6 beta coming soon CORRECT

May 11: iOS 6: Apple drops Google Maps, debuts in-house 'Maps' with incredible 3D mode CORRECT

May 14: Apple readies revamped 15-inch MacBook Pro: Retina Display, ultra-thin design, and super-fast USB 3 CORRECT

May 15: Apple also working on MacBook Airs and iMacs with Retina Displays TO BE DETERMINED

June 4: Facebook in iOS 6: Integration is system-wide, 'Liking' of App Store apps present CORRECT

June 4: Apple to bring full Siri voice-assistant to the iPad with iOS 6: mockup and details CORRECT

June 4: Apple to update most of its Mac lineup and multiple accessories at WWDC CORRECT

June 5: After nearly two years without an update, Apple to finally revamp Mac Pro next week CORRECT

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.

Yeah, right. As if that would work.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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