When Mark Gurman gave MacRumors a heads-up that Apple had registered the domain name “iSlate.com” in late 2009, he set off a media storm, with many speculating that “iSlate” could be the name of secrecy-obsessed Apple’s rumored tablet.
Apple, of course, ultimately went with “iPad,” but at the time the discovery was a big deal. MacRumors turned his tip into a blog post, and everyone else in the tech media followed -- wondering if this hard evidence of a registered domain was a clue to Apple’s plans.
But for Gurman, just 16 at the time, unearthing the nugget was simply the result of a young tech aficionado’s curiosity and a testament to his knack for digging deep.
“That was my first Apple rumor,” said Gurman.
It wouldn’t be his last.
Following the iSlate scoop, Gurman was asked by 9 to 5 Mac to join its team, and he’s been writing for the Apple news site ever since.
Now 18 and recently graduated from Milken Community High School in West Los Angeles, he has grown into one of the top reporters for breaking Apple news, getting a scoop or two on what seems like a weekly basis.
Other outlets such as Reuters and Bloomberg News often follow with reports of their own, backing Gurman’s scoops.
“It’s exciting to see my news,” he said. “The fact that I’m beating them to the information is great.”
It was particularly exciting earlier this month at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where Gurman was really able to strut his stuff. He published seven posts since May predicting major announcements by Apple at WWDC, and he was right on all of them.
“It was pretty nice to see my information coming through the next day because, you know, I get nervous,” he said. “I don’t want to post something that’s wrong.”
Gurman cares about his readers, he cares about getting the story right, and he loves to break news. But despite all his success in the journalism and Apple fronts, his top priority has always remained school.
Despite his unique extracurricular activity, Gurman said he did a good job balancing 9 to 5 Mac and school, never letting work affect his grades or studies.
“It has been very, very stressful,” said Gurman. “Lots of very long nights, lots of very early mornings; but you know, if you want to do what you love, you have to make some sacrifice.”
Still, while he loves breaking Apple and tech industry news and is quite good at it (he says he’s received quite a few job offers), his dream is to join the world of the techies he writes about now.
He will be heading to the University of Michigan this fall to begin studying informatics for a career in the tech industry.
“Eventually, I want to go into the business program, and merge technology and business,” said Gurman, who already writes apps for Apple’s iOS, according to his about.me profile.
Although Gurman said he can’t imagine a long-term career in journalism, he doesn’t plan to leave it any time soon, either, sticking with 9 to 5 Mac while he’s in college.
And if tech and business for some reason don’t work out, Gurman said he at least already knows another line of work he enjoys and excels at.
“You know, I think at the end, this is what I really love,” he said. “You have to do what you love doing, and this is what I like doing. We’ll have to see.”
“I haven’t really made my life decisions yet,” the 18-year-old says with a small laugh.