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Beating Tim Cook, CNN to the punch: recent Milken School grad uncovers Apple’s secrets

by Jonah Lowenfeld

June 18, 2012 | 4:38 pm

Mark Gurman (photo courtesy Mark Gurman)

Most people learned Apple was unveiling a new version of its operating system, iOS 6, and abandoning the Google mapping software used in earlier versions when Apple CEO Tim Cook made the official announcement on June 11.

But for the cadre of observers who watch the world’s most valuable company’s every move very, very closely, those and other bits of Apple-related news were first reported as much as one month earlier, courtesy of Mark Gurman, an 18-year-old Jewish Angeleno who graduated from Milken Community High School this spring.

Gurman is senior editor for the Web site 9to5Mac.com and in the month leading up to Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), he correctly reported seven separate pieces of news that ended up being announced at that annual event, held earlier this month in San Francisco.

In addition to being first to tip readers off about the new iOS and the change in mapping software, Gurman also reported – accurately, again—that the “Retina” display screen Apple has been using in iPhones since 2010 and iPads since March 2012 would soon be coming to the company’s laptops. Gurman also reported, on June 4, that Siri, the voice assistant first made available on iPhones in late 2011, would be added to iPads equipped with the new operating system. Cook also confirmed that piece of information in his keynote address at WWDC one week later.

When Gurman’s prognostications proved true, Apple-watchers at other, bigger news outlets – including CNN—took notice.

Gurman, who is headed to University of Michigan in the fall, may not have written for the Milken paper while he was a student (he was on the Milken Knights robotics team in 9th and 10th grades), but he sounded like a seasoned journalist when he declined to reveal anything about where he gets his information.

“I like to stay away from discussing anything to do with information sourcing,” Gurman wrote in an email to the Journal.

Gurman did mention having seen a demonstration of a siddur (prayer book) app for iPad at WWDC, created by an Orthodox developer and equipped with “novel features” that would allow it to be used without being touched on the Sabbath.

His recent success in cracking open the hermetic world of Apple notwithstanding, Gurman isn’t looking to make a career in journalism. He’s planning to study informatics and computer science at Michigan, and is hoping to transfer to the business school after his first year. And he said he wouldn’t be averse to making the jump from reporter on the outside to Cupertino insider.

“I’d love to work at Apple,” Gurman said.

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