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How To Archive An iOS 7 App

Jan 13, 2024



Apps are often removed from the App Store when developers aren’t prepared to handle a big technical change, which can lead to a mass extinction event. If these apps aren’t preserved, they could be lost forever.

This is how you can contribute to the digital museum by archiving an iOS 7-era app from an iPhone 4. This is a distilled version of everything I tried, the golden path, an updated set of instructions that you can follow using a modern Mac running macOS 14 Sonoma.

I was recently asked by friend Sam Henri-Gold if I happened to purchase the Facebook Paper app ten years ago, when for a brief moment the Apple-centric world of designers, journalists and engineers warmed up to Facebook.

This couldn’t possibly last, of course, so Facebook killed it a year later.

Since I had the purchase in my App Store history, I was able to download it again on a compatible device, create an unencrypted archive of it in the form of an IPA file, transfer it to my Mac and upload it to archive.org for preservation. There’s not a lot that can be done with a client app that had its servers pulled years ago, but this process can be repeated for other apps that could otherwise slip through the cracks of time.

People who’ve never purchased the app from the App Store could reinstall these archives onto a fresh device, keeping their memory alive.

Jailbreaking an iPhone

Jailbreaking will vary based on device and operating system. I presume there are a lot of iPhone 4 devices out there running iOS 7.1.2; it’s a sweet spot as the last update released on a popular phone that’s old enough to run many legacy apps.

The Pangu jailbreak app still runs on macOS Sonoma, incredibly, though it inexplicably did not succeed on the first try. It took a few rounds turning it off and on again to get all the way through to the end.

Pangu also has an untethered jailbreak for iOS 8 and iOS 9. The latter, however, is cut off at 9.3.3; a different tool is needed to jailbreak iOS 9.3.6 that I have not tested.

Reinstalling your old apps

This is pretty straight forward. Open the App Store, tap the Updates tab and tap Purchases. Hit the Download button for any old obscure apps that may need archived.

When you’re browsing the App Store on an older device, you may even be able to purchase new apps that otherwise don’t appear on the modern App Store. I was able to add Smash Room 3D Free, which amazingly, targets iOS 2.2.1.

I believe this may work even if you’ve enabled advanced data protection.

I recommend cross-referencing apps in your purchase history with The IPA Software Archive to see if anyone else has archived it before.

Create an archive and transfer it

The foolproof method, in my experience, is creating the archive on-device. Don’t bother futzing around with SSH. I followed these instructions for iOS 6 – 10 which I will rewrite here in the interest of creating an all-in-one guide.

  1. Open Cydia, go to Sources, tap Edit and tap Add. Type or paste in http://repo.kawaiizenbo.me/ and tap Add Source.
  2. Tap into the repo and install Clutch 2.0.4.
  3. Install MTerminal and Filza File Manager from BigBoss.
  4. Open the Terminal app, type su and press Return. The default password is alpine.
  5. Type clutch -i to list archivable apps.
  6. Type clutch -d followed by the number of the app. It may take a few minutes to create the archive.
  7. Open iFile and navigate to /var/root/Documents/Cracked/. Tap and hold on the IPA and tap Copy. Navigate to /var/mobile/Media/, tap the Clipboard button and tap Paste.
  8. On your Mac, download iFunBox and plug in the iPhone.
  9. Tap Raw Filesystem in the sidebar. Select the IPA and click Copy To Mac.
  10. Upload the IPA to archive.org

Together, we can make sure that this exciting period of time isn’t completely lost.

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The CultCast ‘Scary Fast’ Predictions

Oct 26, 2023 • Apple Event



For (probably) the last time this year on The CultCast, Erfon, Lewis and I will be putting down our predictions for Apple’s surprise “Scary Fast” event on Monday, live on the show. Well technically, Lewis just sent his over from vacation in Italy. Here are the rules:

Watch Erfon and I place our bets on the Cult of Mac YouTube channel.

iMac

Erfon Lewis Griffin
iMac updated with M3
Yes

Yes

Yes
24-inch iMac comes with base chip and Pro chip ×
Yes

No
×
Yes
32-inch iMac introduced with Max chip and Ultra chip
No

No

No
iMac loses a few colors
No

No

No

MacBooks

Erfon Lewis Griffin
13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air updated with M3 chip
No

No

No
13-inch MacBook Pro adds MagSafe, drops TouchBar
No

No

No
13-inch MacBook Pro gets M3 Pro chip and a higher price
No

No

No
14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro updated with M3 Pro and Max
Yes

Yes

Yes
14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro come with new display technology
No
×
Yes

No

Other Hardware

Erfon Lewis Griffin
AirPods Max updated with USB-C and Lossless audio
No
×
Yes

No
Magic Keyboard, Mouse and Trackpad updated with USB-C ×
Yes
×
Yes
×
Yes
Any new iPad is released
No

No

No
Update on Vision Pro
No
×
Yes
×
Yes

Miscellaneous

Erfon Lewis Griffin
A redesigned Apple TV app is shown
No
×
Yes
×
Yes
Presentations outside are all filmed at night
Yes

Yes

Yes
At least one presenter is wearing a Halloween costume ×
Yes
×
Yes
×
Yes
Apple TV+ sizzle reel
No
×
Yes

No
A new Mac is 100% carbon neutral
No
×
Yes
×
Yes
Some products are available to order the same day
Yes

Yes

Yes
The event runs over 65 minutes
No

No

No

And the winner is…

Erfon Lewis Griffin
Scores 17 12 14

Check in on Thursday, November 2 when all three of us will be reunited to review the results.

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The CultCast ‘Wonderlust’ Predictions

Sep 4, 2023 • Apple Event



I have once again conviced my cohosts on The CultCast to put down their predictions for Apple’s “Wonderlust” event. Here’s how it works:

Watch The CultCast on YouTube or listen in Apple Podcasts to hear us make our predictions.

iPhone 15

Erfon Lewis Griffin
All iPhone 15 models switch to a Thunderbolt port
No

No
×
Yes
iPhone 15 ships with USB-C cable; Pro models ship with Thunderbolt cable
No
×
Yes
×
Yes
Ring/Mute switch is replaced with Action button
Yes
×
No

Yes
Gold color is replaced with “Titan Gray” ×
Yes

No

No
Periscope camera comes exclusively to biggest Pro phone
Yes

Yes

Yes
Biggest Pro phone renamed to “iPhone 15 Ultra” ×
Yes

No
×
Yes

Apple Watch

Erfon Lewis Griffin
Apple Watch and Apple Watch Ultra updated with faster chip
Yes

Yes

Yes
Apple Watch Series 9 gets the Action button
No

No

No
An updated Ultra is called “Apple Watch Ultra 2” ×
No
×
No

Yes
New watch faces that weren’t in the beta
Yes
×
No

Yes
Like the iPhone, Apple skips Series 9 and goes straight to X
No

No

No

Other Hardware

Erfon Lewis Griffin
AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max all updated with USB-C ×
Yes
×
Yes

No
A new Mac is released
No

No

No
A new iPad is released
No

No

No
Update on Vision Pro
Yes

Yes

Yes

Miscellaneous

Erfon Lewis Griffin
Segment highlights movies and shows coming to Apple TV+ ×
Yes
×
Yes
×
Yes
Acknowledgement of writer’s and actor’s strikes
No

No
×
Yes
Apple retires leather from cases and bands going forwards
Yes

Yes

Yes
Apple executive shown in remote location
Yes

Yes

Yes
The event runs over 75 minutes
Yes

Yes
×
No

And the winner is…

Erfon Lewis Griffin
Scores 15 14 14

We reviewed the results on Episode 612, which you can watch on YouTube).

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The CultCast WWDC23 Predictions

Jun 1, 2023 • Apple Event



The CultCast is a weekly podcast hosted by Erfon Elijah, Lewis Wallace and myself. Watch us make our picks in Episode 597 and tune in this Thursday where we’ll review our scores.

Ahead of next week’s Apple Keynote, I thought I would challenge my cohosts to a game. We’ve talked endlessly about the rumors — but which do we think have credence? As we recorded live, I filled in our predictions. After the Keynote, our scores will be tallied and the winner will bask in glory.

iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, tvOS

Erfon Lewis Griffin
iOS gets redesigned Control Center ×
Yes
×
Yes
×
Yes
iOS supports alternative app stores ×
Yes

No

No
iOS gets interactive widgets
Yes

Yes
×
No
iPadOS brings significant improvements to Stage Manager
No

No
×
Yes
iPadOS gets the same Lock Screen customization as iOS
Yes
×
No

Yes
watchOS is reimagined with smaller widget-like apps
Yes

Yes

Yes
watchOS gets custom watch faces ×
Yes

No

No
tvOS gets more than 20 seconds of attention ×
No

Yes
×
No

Mac Hardware

Erfon Lewis Griffin
A 15-inch MacBook Air is announced with near-identical specs to the current model
Yes

Yes

Yes
Updated Mac Studio with M2 Max and M2 Ultra ×
No

Yes
×
No
A new Mac Pro is teased
Yes

Yes
×
No

Apple Headset

Erfon Lewis Griffin
Apple announces a headset called “Reality Pro”
No

No
×
Yes
The three core features are FaceTime, productivity and fitness — not gaming
No

No
×
Yes
Only one color option
Yes

Yes

Yes
An external display shows two cartoon eyes to indicate you’re in AR mode
No
×
Yes

No
Someone says “metaverse”
No

No

No
The headset is given a price of $2,999
Yes
×
No
×
No

Miscellaneous

Erfon Lewis Griffin
The event runs over two hours ×
No
×
No
×
No
Tim Cook appears live on stage to introduce the event
No
×
Yes
×
Yes
A normal feature is introduced as “AI” powered ×
Yes
×
Yes
×
Yes

And the winner is…

Erfon Lewis Griffin
Scores 12 14 9

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The Weird, Cyclical State of Mac Gaming

May 9, 2023



Lately, Apple has been trying to drum up interest in a Mac gaming community. Despite touting the versatility of their Metal APIs and the power of their hardware, the industry does not seem to have responded to Apple’s latest efforts.

Apple has been here before, but it might play out different this time.

A brief heyday

Believe it or not, the Mac was once a strong platform for gaming. A standard part of the Keynote pitch for the latest Power Mac in the ’90s typically included a segment playing Quake II, Halo, a top PC game of the time.

They mostly got there by accident. Developers liked the QuickDraw 3D graphics API. Kids, ask your parents (…if your parents were massive Apple nerds back in the ’90s). While Classic Mac OS was a primitive operating system, it was well-understood and well-documented.

In switching to Mac OS X, an unreliable new platform that was too powerful to comfortably run on anything less than a top-of-the-line machine; in ditching the versatile and popular InputSprockets API for the buggy new HID Manager; it’s no wonder that soon into the Mac OS X era, Apple quietly stopped talking about gaming.

History repeating

To get a better understanding of where the market is today, I consulted several different lists and compiled the most commonly-cited titles of popular Mac games:

You can see that the Mac actually had a quiet comeback to AAA gaming in the second half of the 2010s. I myself logged hundreds of hours in Cities: Skylines and American Truck Simulator on my 2015 MacBook Pro. Granted, if a Mac release came at all it was often late, killing much of the launch momentum, but nonetheless, these are popular well-known titles.

We got here again because Mac ports were easy to supply, not because Mac games were in overwhelming demand. The Mac and PC were synchronized on the 64-bit Intel architecture and OpenGL. Hell, even if your favorite title wasn’t on the Mac, you could just boot into Windows.

Nothing lasts forever. In dropping 32-bit app support in macOS Catalina, in refusing to provide first-party support for the fast-growing new Vulkan API and in switching to Apple silicon, Apple has once again shaken off game studio interest like water off a dog.

Mac gaming post-Apple silicon

At every Mac introduction, Apple has been touting M1- and M2-friendly games like No Man’s Sky, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and… well, that’s pretty much it.

I can’t say that either of the Mac’s two AAA titles are my style. But that’s not the end of the story — I decided to turn to Apple Arcade. Most of the selection is comprised of 2D games clearly designed first for the iPhone, and trust me, we’ll get back to that. But first, I set out to find the most impressive, stunning 3D graphics — the games that I figured would make the most of my new M2 Pro machine.

Three screenshots from similar-looking racing games.

In play testing Asphalt 8 and Gear.Club-Stradale, I was reasonably impressed for several thrilling minutes until the race was over and you could bask in the blocky environments and low-resolution textures.

One of those above screenshots is actually from GRID Autosport for the Playstation 3, a console that released in 2006. They’re within spitting distance of each other in terms of shadows, reflections and lighting.

As I alluded to, these are clearly iPhone games first.

It doesn’t instill confidence that developers care about the Mac.

What’s next?

To bring back the Mac gaming market, the games need to be easier to port and the demand must be overwhelming.

Microsoft, a company that has seemingly killed more ARM-based operating systems than they’ve shipped, is being outpaced by the Amish community in adopting the new architecture. The thought of headline-breaking PC games being compiled simulataneously for Windows on ARM and Apple silicon is a dream.

So, the supply will continue to be thin.

And the Mac community has largely given up on expecting AAA titles to come to our favorite platform. Diehard Mac users who care about gaming throw in their cards and build a gaming PC — Cult of Mac’s Setups series had three (1) (2) (3) joint Mac & PC setups in the March alone.

So, the demand will continue to be thin.

History suggests that given time, tides will turn once again. All we need to do is ask Microsoft for a public release of Windows 11 on ARM, ask Apple to bring back Boot Camp and ask major game studios to move beyond the Intel x86_64 architecture.

How long could that take?

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Apple’s Mac and HomePod Announcements

Jan 25, 2023 • Apple Event



Last week, Apple unceremoniously dropped a few press releases and a couple video segments clearly cut out of a Keynote video. (Even moreso than before, I am very much stretching the definition of my ‘Apple Event’ tag.)

I made my podcasting debut on The CultCast to talk about these announcements with Erfon Elijah and Lewis Wallace.

Mac mini with M2

This is not just the best value for your money Apple has ever offered in a Mac — the very fastest and latest consumer desktop computer for just $599 — it might be the best value in the entire computer industry. And you can get it for just $499 through the education store, where you need only a .edu email address.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with the rumored redesign that would have evoked the PowerPC Mac mini. Apple’s processor transition playbook is that initial versions with a new chipset reuse the old chassis, but over time, we get the designs Apple wanted to make all along. Like the first MacBook Pro compared to the unibody model, or even more recently, the M1 MacBook Air compared to the M2 MacBook Air. Perhaps a new Mac mini design is coming even later with M3, or Apple thinks the aluminum block design is still sufficient for this computer. If ever there were a computer that didn’t need to change in a chip transition, it’d be the Mac mini.

The M2 is a modest improvement on M1. The cores themselves are only about 12% faster, but there are more cores in every M2 variant such that most tasks using the CPU and GPU are a solid 20% faster. Now built in to the base M2 chip is the media engine for faster video encoding and decoding. The Neural engine is a whopping 40% faster. Don’t overlook this — it powers many of the advanced features these days like visual lookup, cutting objects out of photos and any app using Core ML. I suspect it’ll only become more important over time.

Apple struggled with the Mac mini in the past. The last three Intel versions only came out in 2012, 2014 (with modest improvements at best) and 2018. Now that updating these machines to the latest and greatest is entirely within their own control, and so much of the research and development is amortized across the entire lineup, I think we can expect regular updates to the sidelined Macs.

Mac mini with M2 Pro

This is what I and many others have been waiting for: A mid-range professional desktop running M2 Pro.

Start with the Mac mini, check a few upgrade boxes and you may approach Mac Studio level prices, but you will be prioritizing what you want out of a computer. I don’t need the chip with the highest core count; I want a lot of internal storage space and unified memory first. Ordering the Mac Studio is like buying more ports and a bigger processor out the gate.

The Mac mini is the perfect machine for small video production studios, marketing departments, graphic designers, podcasters, grad students, data scientists and more. Although it isn’t internally expandable, this Mac bears the most functional resemblance to the kind of workhorse PC that gets bought in bulk in offices and schools across the country.

We now have somewhat of an answer as to why the M1 Mac mini was so empty inside: the M2 Pro model features a larger logic board, cooling system and power supply. In a thread on Mastodon with Jason Snell and John Gruber, I was initially skeptical that Apple couldn’t jam an M2 Max chip in there if they really wanted to. After all, they have more room to work with even in the Mac mini than they do in a skinny laptop. The key might be in the power supply — the Mac mini’s is internal; the MacBook Pro’s is on the power cable.

MacBook Pro

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are updated from M1 Pro and Max to M2 Pro and Max.

‘Spec bump’ is often used derogatorily, but in the era of Apple silicon, it represents a change in product direction. Updates to the hardware aren’t held back because engineers need to come up with a fresh new way to make the computer worse. Whereas in the dark days of the Intel era there were good and bad times to buy a Mac, you could buy a great MacBook Pro last week and an even better MacBook Pro this week.

It is still true in the M2 lineup that you spend at least $700 for the laptop form factor. You can see this for yourself if you compare an identically configured desktop and laptop; in this case, the Mac mini with M2 Pro and 14-inch MacBook Pro. Laptops are more expensive to engineer and come with a built-in display, camera, battery, keyboard and trackpad.

HomePod

The very next day, we get the surprise announcement of a new HomePod. I’m not entirely sure why.

The original HomePod sold poorly because it was over-engineered and over-priced. It was a good value as far as premium home speaker systems go, but consumers didn’t understand it and didn’t buy it. It took three years to sell through the original production run from 2018.

The new HomePod removes two speakers and two microphones from the original in exchange for a newer chip, different internal design, added temperature and humidity sensors, Thread and Matter support. It’s allegedly cheaper for Apple to manufacture but sold at the same $299 price point the previous model was at for most of its life.

Maybe Apple thinks they can market the new version better, but I don’t have confidence. Aside from its bigness, it has complete feature parity with the HomePod mini, and it costs 3× as much. For the cost of one HomePod, you can buy a stereo pair of HomePod minis in one room and an additional HomePod mini in another room. Instead of one stereo pair of HomePods, you can buy three stereo pairs of HomePod minis for your living room, kitchen and office.

Erfon is adamant that a HomePod sounds well over three times as good as a HomePod mini. He’s probably right. But how is Apple going to convince people of that in a crowded noisy Apple Store? How will they market how much better this one is without indirectly putting down their other $99 speaker?

Apple AR/VR Headset

Mission failed, we’ll get ’em next time.

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Quote Tweets On Mastodon Are Pointless

Dec 30, 2022



Among tech enthusiasts, Mastodon is well and truly taking off as the new online water cooler in place of Twitter.

There are a few growing pains — any platform that takes on a huge influx of users will get that. Issues with servers being overloaded, complaints that the platform design cannot support social movements and that the network is less friendly to marginalized people.

One of the chief complaints even among the Mastodon enthusiasts (of which I am one) is the lack of a quote-tweet equivalent feature. If you are not familiar, or if you are reading this in a post-Twitter future, a quote tweet looks like this:

Wack https://t.co/EAtqV94t7d

— D. Griffin Jones (@dgriffinj0nes) October 12, 2022

People who follow me will see both the original tweet and my comment, both of which happen to be the same in this case. Compare that to a reply, which looks like this:

I may be thirteen years late, but The Weather Channel’s “The Best of Smooth Jazz” is a really fire album

— D. Griffin Jones (@dgriffinj0nes) September 17, 2020

You might be confused what the difference is if you don’t use Twitter a lot. Functionally, they are the same feature: a tweet of mine that is in response to another. The only difference to the end user is in the presentation.

This is why Mastodon doesn’t need quote tweets: Twitter doesn’t even need quote tweets. When people ask for quote tweets, what they actually want is a way to show their reply with the context of the original post on the timeline.

In a way, Mastodon has already laid the groundwork for this. Every post has a variety of visibility options: Public (visible for all), Unlisted (visible for all, but opted-out of discovery features), Followers Only (visible only to your followers) and Mentioned People Only (visible only to people mentioned in the post).

What I propose is that replies add an additional toggle: Show With Context. Enabling this will show both the original post with your reply on your timeline. I think it’s the simplest solution that solves the heart of the problem.

And you know what? If this is my biggest problem with Mastodon, we’re in a pretty good spot. Things could be ever so much worse.

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Now Writing for Cult of Mac

Dec 20, 2022



As a sequel to a post earlier this year, I have an even more exciting announcement: I am joining Cult of Mac as a full-time writer. I will be continuing my How To articles with occasional news coverage in addition to top tips and weekly videos.

I’m proud that I’ll likely hit my goal of 24 posts this year on Extra Ordinary. Going forward, a lot of what I would otherwise post on this site will probably be written for Cult of Mac, like my rumor roundups, developer interviews and (of course) my complaints.

Add Cult of Mac to your RSS client to get the very best in Apple news, reviews, tips and deals. Follow Everything D. Griffin Jones on Twitter for all of my work.

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How to Mark Favorites in Apple Music

Why? No reason. Literally.

Dec 15, 2022



This How To article was rejected by the Cult of Mac editors because it offers no useful or actionable advice and ends as a frustrated rant. Enjoy.


Apple single-handedly dragged the music industry into the 21st century kicking and screaming. The iTunes Music Store completely changed the way people downloaded music… legally, at least. The iPod pushed music into people’s pockets. And since then? Apple Music has fumbled along as a barely viable product that has confused people from its launch to this very day. iOS 16 brings a coveted new feature to the Music app: the ability to mark an artist as a favorite.

If you have a big music library, you might have hundreds of albums and dozens of artists or more. And if you’re anything like me, you listen to a small handful of the same albums 80% of the time. Quicker access to your top artists would be great… if it worked properly.

Read on to see how this broken feature barely works in any capacity and would hardly provide any utility in the off-chance that it did.

Star your favorite bands in Apple Music

To mark an artist as a favorite, open Music.

  1. From the For You or Listen Now tabs, you can tap on any album and tap on their name under the album title.
  2. Alternatively, from the Library tab, you can also tap Artists, tap on their name and tap See More by…
  3. Or, just search by their name in the Search tab.

From the artist page, just tap the star in the top right. Tap the star again to unfavorite them. It’s that simple.

Now, you might wonder — what does marking an artist as a favorite do? I have no idea. As far as I can tell, this does absolutely nothing. This is simply baffling.

According to Apple’s official support documentation, marking a favorite artist adds them to a list you can see on the Listen Now tab. If this is supposed to be a convenient way to access the artists you listen to most, this is far from it because I can’t find it anywhere. I’ve quit the app, I’ve restarted my phone, I’ve scrolled top-to-bottom on that page countless times and I can’t see it.

There is a prominent tile labeled “Favorites Mix,” but this is not the same thing. This is a generated playlist that for me includes a bunch of random songs that are not by my favorite artists. And double checking to make sure is a big pain, because as I mention, there’s nowhere you can see all of your favorites listed. A significant portion of these songs I have rarely ever played.

Even if it is there, it’s evidently so much harder to find than simply going to the Library tab that I will continue to exclusively use the Library tab.

But hey, we can karaoke.

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The Canonical List of All-In-One Macs

Dec 1, 2022



The all-in-one computer has been a staple of the Mac since its inception.

It was the only form factor available until the Macintosh II debuted in 1987. The Macintosh then grew into a large family of (arguably too many) different models — but at any point in time, Apple has offered an all-in-one Mac as a simple home computer for the average consumer.

Here’s the definitive continuity:

  1. The Macintosh
  2. The Macintosh 512K
  3. The Macintosh Plus
  4. The Macintosh SE and SE/30
  5. The Macintosh Classic and Classic II
  6. The Macintosh Color Classic and Color Classic II
  7. The Macintosh LC 500
  8. The Power Macintosh 5200, 5400 and 5500
  9. The iMac G3
  10. The iMac G4
  11. The iMac G5
  12. The Intel iMac
  13. The Aluminum iMac
  14. The Unibody iMac
  15. The Slim iMac
  16. The Retina iMac
  17. The Apple Silicon iMac

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