The best of iMore 2023

iMore best of 2023
(Image credit: Future)

From M3 Macs to Apple Vision Pro, from iPhone 15 Pro Max to the Ted Lasso finale to the rise of AI chatbots and those Finewoven cases, there's been lots to talk about in 2023.

Well, maybe the less said about that last one, the better...

But I digress! It's been a pleasure and privilege to serve the readers this year, as we've put together long reads, features, opinions, reviews and more over the past 12 months. I'm always amazed at the creativity of our team and contributors, and by the number of you who return every day to see what we're up to. We couldn't do it without you.

To celebrate and reminisce over the year that was, I've pulled together a selection of some of my favorite articles from 2023 — rants, raves, reviews and more.

Scroll below to check out my picks, and hit those headlines to read the full articles.

Thanks for reading, and we'll see you all again soon in 2024 — we've got some big things planned...

Gerald Lynch, Editor-in-Chief

Long reads, features and opinions

The Apple Vision Pro with neon text

(Image credit: Future)

50 things you need to know about Apple Vision Pro

"It’s the most talked about piece of tech hardware in many years, and there’s still a lot to learn about it. The Apple Vision Pro is the most ambitious device Apple has ever made: a head-mounted wearable computer that it believes will change the way we interact with technology forever.

"Fueled by a huge amount of processing power, sensors, an all-new OS and a truly striking industrial design, it’s still a long-way off from release. But that only makes us more eager to find out what this mixed-reality device is capable of.

"From immersive ‘Environments’ to creepy digital ‘Personas’, from a hands-free control method to a potential date with Mickey Mouse, here are 50 facts, figures and features you need to know about Apple Vision Pro."

Apple iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

I used to work at the Apple store, here are 5 things you should never buy there

"While Apple stores might be grand bastions of incredible architecture, cantilevered mezzanines, and soaring glass panels, they are not the place to be if you want to actually save money on anything you buy.

"Notoriously stingy, but arguably fair, Apple’s retail prices almost never change throughout the course of the year, and if they do change, they very rarely go down. Apple doesn’t hold discounts or sales, except for the Black Friday weekend, and even then it only offers gift cards to supplement full-price purchases. I should know, because I worked there." 

Tshaka Armstrong tests VO2 Max

(Image credit: Tshaka Armstrong / iMore)

Apple Watch VO2 Max explained: How it could save your life (and how to improve it)

“VO2 Max.” It sounds like an 80’s “teen meets machine,” cartoon superhero. Like, some kid named Max says some catchphrase, “VO2…ax…ax,” and his motorcycle transforms, becoming a part of some super suit he wears to dispatch some corny cadre of super villains. 

"Well, that description IS somewhat accurate. Having a solid VO2 Max may make you feel like you are in fact, superhuman. And Apple thought enough of Max and his VO2-ness to include it as a standout metric in Apple Health, even notifying you if you have “low cardio,” meaning a low VO2 Max number, like me. 

"But what exactly is the VO2 Max metric and is it actually important to your overall health? And if it is and your number, like mine, is garbage, what can you do about it?" 

An Apple memoji wearing a VR headset

(Image credit: Future)

Motion sickness is a very un-Apple problem. Can the Apple Vision Pro headset fix it?

"VR motion sickness has plagued virtual reality experiences since day one. Will Apple’s Vision Pro headset be any different?

"In a nutshell, if your brain thinks your body is moving, but your body is stationary, you’re going to experience motion sickness. The same goes for if your body is moving, but that movement doesn’t match what your eyes are seeing. You’ll get hot and sweaty, a bit headachey. You’ll feel bad stuff rising in your throat. It’s uncomfortable, and not always avoidable."

A person sitting at their desk with a desktop computer and two laptops next to them. They are using the 1Password password manager on their computer.

(Image credit: AgileBits)

1Password wants you to ditch passwords. The replacement could change everything

"It’s not much of an insight to say that passwords are a security risk and that most of us use ones that are far too weak. While we tend to begrudgingly acknowledge that, actually putting things right – going through your accounts and changing every password to something unique and memorable – is both difficult and tedious. We’re using a lousy solution for a critical problem.

"Recently, though, there have been rumblings of a better alternative, one that’s been sneaking quietly under the radar. If you watched Apple’s WWDC show last year, you’ll have seen Craig Federighi and friends talk about passkeys and how they’re a password replacement that is not only more secure, but easier to use too. But what exactly are passkeys and how do you use them?"

Blue sea and white sand beach

(Image credit: iMore / Stephen Warwick)

I never loved my Apple Watch until I used it at the beach

"Beaches are great, but there are some drawbacks. Sand, sea, and seaweed get everywhere, and I mean literally everywhere. There’s sun cream, there are refreshments, sticks, dust, and anything else you can think of. What better place then, to lock your iPhone away in a bag and let your Apple Watch do all of the hard work?"

The Apple Music app for MacOS

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Apple Music has an amazing feature that no-one ever talks about

"The recent Spotify redesign didn’t fill me with confidence on the platform’s direction for the future, so it was high time that I sought out some new tunes elsewhere for a bit to see if the grass was greener over on the Apple Music side of the music streaming landscape. It’s been great so far — but one unexpected feature has really enamoured me to Apple’s platform.

"And strangest of all? No-one really talks about it. Like, at all."

The TCL RayNeo Air 2 smart glasses on steel and wooden surfaces

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

These smart glasses gave me a glimpse of life with Apple Vision Pro — and I’m ready for it

"The TCL RayNeo Air 2 aren’t the first smart glasses I’ve tried, and like other rival devices in the category, they too have their flaws. Legibility at the extremities of the microOLED displays can be difficult, and they have only the most rudimentary AR features — not a patch on what even Apple’s brief Vision Pro demo teased.

"But they’re still the best smart glasses I’ve tried, even removed from the fact that the current competition isn’t that hot. Their 1080p virtual display, appearing to hover in front of your face through the transparent lenses of the glasses, is incredibly sharp and vibrant (at least when centered correctly). And the lightweight design, powered not by an onboard battery but by the USB-C device you hook them to, meant I could feasibly wear them for hours on end without issue."

M2 Mac mini on a wooden desk

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

How to build an elite desktop Mac for less than an M3 iMac

"Apple’s new iMac is a fantastic all-in-one desktop powered by Apple’s new M3 chip. Yet, for a variety of reasons, it’s not the perfect Mac solution for everyone. As we noted in our review, there are some drawbacks to buying one in 2023, including a more limited selection of ports, Lightning accessories, and the fact it isn’t upgradeable. 

"More generally, the appeal of an all-in-one iMac is also quite niche. While the harmony of computer and display in one chassis appeals to some, others might prefer a more modular approach to building a desktop Mac setup. Powered by something like the M2 Mac mini, buying multiple products separately will give you absolute control over every facet of the experience, including your monitor, keyboard, mouse, and any other peripherals you can think of. We’ve seen a $100 discount on the M3 iMac earlier on in the Cyber Monday proceedings, but that’s no longer live, which made me ask myself this: Can you build a brilliant desktop Mac setup for less than the price of a $1,299 M3 iMac?"

Resident Evil Village and iPhone 15 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Resident Evil Village on iPhone 15 Pro gave me something very rare — a good mobile gaming experience

"When Resident Evil Village was first shown back at the Apple Event in September I was excited but equally a little cautious. The idea of a phone being able to run a console-level experience feels almost too good to be true yet, after spending a week with it, it makes me more excited for what’s to come next."

Ted Lasso Believe sign ripped

(Image credit: Apple)

Ted Lasso sucks

"I first started watching Ted Lasso in the summer of 2020, and like most of us, I was struggling with my mental health and the new pandemic world we were living in. It was the perfect bit of escapism to feel okay when the world around me felt like it was crumbling. Many have compared that first season of Ted Lasso to a friendly, warm hug, and while I was never a super fan, I appreciated the light-heartedness and warmth that the characters gave me.

"Now, every episode I watch has me sighing and checking the time as I power on through till the end. The show has lost its appeal to me, and as a football fan, it’s actually starting to boil my blood."

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with cosmic wallpaper

(Image credit: Future / Android / John-Anthony Disotto)

I swapped iOS for Android for the first time ever, this is what happened

"The iPhone was my first ever smartphone purchase back in 2009. This means that 14 years later, I’ve never experienced the world of Android. That was until this weekend when a Samsung S23 Ultra arrived on my doorstep.

"I’ve written in the past about how the iPhone 14 Pro had been causing me major hand cramps. So, after selling my iPhone in anticipation of a lighter titanium iPhone 15 Pro, I decided to try out an Android device for a weekend away in London."

Simon's Cat Story Time on iPad on desk

(Image credit: Future / Apple)

"It has to make sense narratively," Tactile Games reveals hopes for Simon's Cat on Vision Pro

"For those unaware, Simon’s Cat was created by artist Simon Tofield, and published its first episode, ‘Can Man Do’, on its YouTube channel back on March 4, 2008. Since then, the video has had over 65 million views, and almost ten years after that, the first game by Tactile Games arrived.

"Tactile Games is full of praise for Apple Arcade.

"In a roundtable discussion at its office in Derby, we spoke all about how Simon’s Cat has translated into a series of games, and where the team wants to go with its next game in the series."

MacBook chargers

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Apple's proprietary charging cables...RANKED: Lightning and 30-pin fisticuffs as USB-C arrives on iPhone

"Apple is well known for its proprietary charging cables and making your life difficult with the need for extra cables around your home. With the iPhone 15, Apple is conforming to EU regulations and bringing the most universal charging port on the planet to the iPhone — USB-C.

"As we get ready to transition to USB-C and lock those Lighting cables in a drawer never to see the light of day again, we thought it would be fun to take a look back in time at Apple's proprietary charging offerings from the over the years."

Petey and MacWhisper

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ChatGPT: Where can it go on iOS, iPadOS and macOS?

"It’s no secret that ChatGPT has turned the concept of an AI assistant on its head. Siri, Google Assistant, and even Google pale compared to what OpenAI is capable of.

"In recent months, we’ve seen OpenAI’s service go from being accessible on the web to being an Apple Shortcut, followed by dedicated apps that you can download right now to your MaciPhoneiPad and Apple Watch. With WWDC 2023 announced for June 5, the jury is still out as to whether Apple will embrace AI in its future.

"Could it perhaps help developers with new APIs to take advantage of ChatGPT in its apps? Or could this be the start of something new to replace Siri?"

Weird Accessories

(Image credit: Future/ iMore)

The five weirdest things you can buy from

"The Apple Store is absolutely loaded with useful stuff that’s been accredited by Apple itself so that you know it's going to work perfectly with your gear. There’s also some really weird stuff that you might not have expected to be around anymore, from strange dongles to expensive accessories that make little sense.

"Some of these things still have a use, but some just feel a little out of date, and out of place. So we’ve found some of the strangest, and why they might actually not be all that weird after all."

Cyberpunk 2077 on macOS Sonoma

(Image credit: Isaac Marovitz)

Game Porting Toolkit in macOS Sonoma won’t fix what’s broken with Mac games

"Apple’s new Game Porting Toolkit has received a lot of attention since its introduction at WWDC back in June, and it’s easy to understand why.

"While the new kit is aimed at game developers specifically, enthusiasts have been able to get some high-profile Windows-only game titles working on the Mac.

"Game Porting Toolkit is certainly impressive, but getting games to run on Mac hardware has never been the issue, and Game Porting Toolkit, unfortunately, does nothing to address them."

Apple Watch Ultra 2

(Image credit: Future)

The 50 best Apple Watch apps in 2023

"The Apple Watch is excellent for many reasons, from fitness tracking to pinging your lost iPhone. Apple Pay on Apple Watch is hugely underrated too, and the Snoopy Watch Face that arrived with watchOS 10 would be enough on its own to keep it on our wrists every day. 

"The Apple Watch is an information powerhouse though, especially if you pack it with apps that actually do something. We've rounded up the best Apple Watch apps out there, whether you want to play Snake like the cool kids did in 1998, or you're looking to keep your day on track. Here are our top 50 Apple Watch apps to download right now."

Keychron Q1 with GMK Metropolis

(Image credit: John-Anthony Disotto)

I built a custom mechanical keyboard for Mac and you should too!

"When my trusty Keychron K2 fell victim to my Matcha Latte from Starbucks, I knew it was time to look at purchasing a new keyboard for my desk. I purchased the Keychron in 2020 and it was a trusty keyboard that got the job done with very few bells and whistles – a great out of box experience that works for someone who just wants a keyboard. 

"My attempt to salvage my first-ever mechanical keyboard failed miserably, as the green tea-filled switches were soldered onto the board. As such, it was time to look for a new sidekick."

John Travolta wearing Apple VR at a party

(Image credit: Future/ iMore)

Would you wear Apple VR to a party? Nope, didn't think so — so why does Apple think you will?

"Parties are full of life because you experience these things with people hand in hand and skin on skin – and you can see who you’re interacting with eye to eye. A VR headset makes that sound thoroughly unsexy – and who wants to be at a party devoid of any and all real-world sensuality?"

iMac G4 on desk

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Using a G4 iMac in 2023: a still-spectacular Mac

"Having an old Mac around to do random tasks is often useful. Do some network file storage, run HomeBridge to extend your smart home capabilities, or just have a computer around for focused writing; the possibilities are endless!

"To mark its 20th anniversary in 2023, we’re going way back in Mac history to try using what some would call the best-looking Mac ever made, the G4 iMac.

"Is it still useful all these years after release, or is it just a beautiful object that looks nice on a shelf but is useless on a desk?"


An iPhone 15 Pro Max against an abstract blur swirling background.

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future / Apple)

iPhone 15 Pro Max review: One month with Apple’s best-ever iPhone

"The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the best iPhone Apple has ever made — and that's not just by virtue of a chip spec bump. By introducing USB-C data transfer and charging, a 5x optical zoom camera, a customizable Action Button and a weight-saving titanium construction, Apple made improvements all round. This is the handset against which all other smartphones must now be judged."

iPhone 15 Pro with a titanium finish running iOS 17

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future / Apple)

iPhone 15 Pro review: One week with the iPhone you should buy this year

"The iPhone 15 Pro trims, tweaks, and tidies the top-end iPhone design into a streamlined handset that brings meaningful additions in the shape of USB-C charging and a programmable Action button. But its real power may only truly present itself once (and if) developers start taking advantage of its souped-up chipset."

iPhone 15 Plus review

(Image credit: Future)

iPhone 15 Plus: A triumphant second attempt with one flaw

"The iPhone 15 Plus shines thanks to its awesome new design, 48MP, and the new Dynamic Island. 60Hz, however, has no place in a 2023 smartphone."

The iPhone 15 Pro with a Pacific Blue Apple FineWoven case on.

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Apple iPhone 15 FineWoven case with MagSafe review: A rare misstep

"The Apple FineWoven case will protect your iPhone 15, and if that’s all you care about — and insist on only buying matching Apple products for your new iPhone — then, yes, sure, it’ll get the job done, and look nice for the first few days after you buy it.

But the material at the heart of the FineWoven design is so prone to scratches and stains, and the USB-C cutout so narrow, that it’s simply impossible to recommend. Shop around — there are literally hundreds of great alternatives." 

Apple Watch Series 9

(Image credit: Future)

Apple Watch Series 9 review: It's about time

"The Apple Watch Series 9 is a marked upgrade for any Apple Watch owner, even over the Apple Watch Series 8. It’s the best all-round Apple Watch the company has ever made and excels at exercise tracking, iPhone interaction, and more. 

"The new S9 chip is super snappy and makes using the watch a dream. On-device Siri is a game changer, as is the new UWB 2 chip that powers improved Find My and HomePod interactions. The upgraded brightness makes this display very impressive while retaining solid battery life that will see you easily through an entire day. This is also one of Apple’s first-ever carbon-neutral products, an environmental landmark that will give users that extra peace of mind."

Apple Watch Ultra 2 mountains

(Image credit: Future)

Apple Watch Ultra 2 review: The adventure continues

"Compared to the first-generation Ultra, the new S9 chip is very impressive, as is Double Tap and on-device Siri. The new Ultra WideBand chip is also a delight, and taken together they mark a significant update on last year’s model. The much brighter display is also a huge bonus, as is the one-nit option. 

"The Ultra 2 is a highly-targeted watch for those who need extreme reliability in any situation, but in my opinion, it’s not the best choice for most users, and I’m certain the best Apple Watch for most people this year is the Series 9."

M3 MacBook Pro review

(Image credit: Future)

MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max, M3 Pro, 2023) review: Back in Black and better than ever

"The M3 Max MacBook Pro is an astonishing bit of kit. It’s the pinnacle of Apple’s illustrious Mac history (to date) and proof the company is making leaps and bounds with its Apple silicon architecture. The extra performance the company has squeezed out of this new 3nm process is very impressive and one that pros will love and appreciate. There are not enough hardware changes here to justify moving from any of its Apple silicon predecessors, but Intel Mac users and first-time buyers will be blown away by the performance. The Space Black color is another welcome addition and a finish I’d love to see make its way to the rest of Apple’s Mac lineup, both mobile and desktop."

The 2023 M3 iMac on a wooden desk, showing the features of macOS Sonoma

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future / Apple)

iMac (M3, 2023) review: An all-in-one all-rounder, but some parts are ready for an upgrade

"Apple’s 2023 iMac with M3 chip is an incredible computer, with far more power and potential than the average family it’s aimed at will ever need. But though it’s beautiful to look at, there’s room for improvement in the now almost three-year-old external design, while the accessories are annoyingly still tied to Lightning connections."

M2 Mac mini on a wooden desk

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Mac mini (M2, M2 Pro, 2023) review: a miniature marvel

"Whether you’re buying the entry-level M2 Mac mini or pushing for the more powerful Mac mini with M2 Pro, Apple’s pint-sized desktop machine offers great bang-for-buck, making it a genuine option not just for those on a tight budget, but anyone looking for a powerful and capable macOS machine."

Mac Studio M2 on a wooden desk in an office

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Mac Studio (M2 Ultra, M2 Max, 2023) review: Who needs the Mac Pro anyway?

"The new Mac Studio, with its M2 Ultra and M2 Max chips, is so powerful that it’s hard to imagine where Apple takes its desktop computers next. Making mincemeat of multiple demanding workflows at once, it should be at the absolute top of the wishlist for video editors, 3D artists and professional musicians. But PC owners with a top-end GPU still have an edge in a few key areas."

At home with 15-inch MacBook Air, on a mosaic balcony table and on a wooden floor.

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

MacBook Air 15-inch (M2, 2023) review: The perfect MacBook for almost everyone

"The MacBook Air 15-inch is the MacBook the average Apple fan has been after for many, many years. Powerful enough for everyday tasks without breaking the bank, and with a screen size previously reserved for the Pro models, it’s the perfect balance between price, screen size, and portability."

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) on wooden desk with green background

(Image credit: Future)

MacBook Pro 16-inch (M2 Max, M2 Pro, 2023) review: Apple does it again

"If you want the most powerful MacBook Apple has ever made, then the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) is for you. It combines the very latest Apple silicon in the form of the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, huge amounts of memory (up to 96GB), and industry-leading battery life.

"Add the best screen you can currently get on a laptop, and you’ve got a MacBook that will help you work faster and smarter for years to come. That is, if you can afford it. While the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) hasn’t had a price rise (in the US, at least), this is still an incredibly expensive laptop, with a price tag that will put it out of reach for many people."

A 2023 14-inch MacBook Pro on a wooden counter, near a retro lamp.

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

"Though it doesn’t offer any big differences in terms of design compared to its last-generation iteration, that doesn’t stop the 14-inch MacBook Pro for 2023 from being one of the best portable computers money can buy.

It’s expensive, but its combination of power, battery life and exceptional build quality make it incredibly attractive. It can be configured to ridiculous heights, but even the entry level model has power to spare for the average user."

MacBook Pro 14-inch (M2 Max, M2 Pro, 2023) review: portable power

Apple HomePod 2 in black

(Image credit: Future / Stephen Warwick)

Apple HomePod 2 (2023) review: Ignore the noise, it's brilliant

"I absolutely love the new HomePod. It’s a triumph. I still can’t believe how Apple has managed to pull off the audio improvements it has, but it really is something. Whether it's listening to music or watching TV, this beats any smart speaker, Bluetooth, or otherwise that I’ve ever heard. In fact, the new HomePod is so good that I’d even recommend it as an upgrade from the original HomePod if you have one. It's the best smart speaker I've ever heard."

Beats Studio Buds Plus on a rock, case and buds

(Image credit: Tammy Rogers/ iMore)

Beats Studio Buds Plus review: A worthy upgrade

"Improving on (almost) every aspect of the original buds, the Beats Studio Buds Plus bring improved sound, a robust feature set, and ANC to go with the cool new color options. There is a price hike over the last generation, but you’re getting enough extra to warrant it."

Beats Studio Pro on a rock

(Image credit: iMore/ Tammy Rogers)

Beats Studio Pro review: Nuthin' but a "USB-C" thang

"The Beats Studio Pro have some upgrades over the last version — the sound is slightly better, there’s finally USB-C, and the new color options are a great addition. They’re not different enough to make them that much better than Studio3 however, and the build leaves a lot to be desired."

iOS 17 running on an iPhone

(Image credit: Apple (Edited))

iOS 17 review: Top 10 features ranked

"iOS 17 is one of the best iPhone updates we’ve seen in years. It’s stable, it’s fun to use, and it introduces new ways of using your iPhone — the holy trinity everyone wants in a software update.

"New features like Contact Posters, StandBy, and Live Stickers, alongside major improvements like interactive widgets, make iOS 17 a must-download and install. 

While some issues with Apple’s iOS development, like the lack of dedicated UI that takes advantage of a larger display or no improvements to Dynamic Island, are a little disappointing, I think iOS 17 is the software update we’ve been waiting for. I can’t wait to start seeing everyone’s Contact Posters and Live Stickers in action."

macOS Sonoma key art

(Image credit: Apple)

macOS Sonoma review: Top new features ranked

"macOS Sonoma is a series of small upgrades that coalesce nicely but don’t offer any headline features that’ll draw a great deal of excitement. The power of Gaming Mode remains untested, and widgets can be a little finicky. Still, there are some great, decidedly Apple features like iPhone widgets and video conferencing updates that mean there’s still a lot to have fun with."

Final Cut Pro iPad overview

(Image credit: iMore)

Final Cut Pro on iPad review: Oscar-worthy touch-focused redesign of a classic app

"Final Cut Pro will instantly become the best video editing app for the iPad for many people. It’s not perfect, and experienced users will likely run into limits, but this feels like a very good foundation for the future of Final Cut Pro."


iMore readers' choice awards

(Image credit: Apple/ Future)

iMore Readers’ Choice Awards 2023: Your top picks for the best Apple devices, apps and accessories of the year

"You voted, we listened: Welcome to the iMore Readers’ Choice Awards 2023, where you, our amazing readership, have picked the Apple devices, apps, and accessories you want to see crowned as this year's best.

"Over 1,000 iMore readers took part in this year’s voting process, ranking products, brands, software, and services across 16 categories, covering everything from smart home gear to unreleased ‘Most Wanted’ devices from Apple’s upcoming and rumored slate of launches.

"We’ve now collected all the data and have our winners. If you’re looking for the best of the best Apple gear, apps, software, and third-party accessories for 2023, you’ve found it, as selected by your fellow Apple fans."

IM Staff
The collective iMore hivemind is your source for all things Apple, and the IM Staff author represents our collective hivemind, for those occasions when the whole team speaks with one voice to bring you important updates about the site, editorial policies, awards, promotions and more. 

The iMore team of Apple enthusiasts and experts shows you how to get the most out of your tech life by using Apple products and the apps, services, and devices they connect with to their fullest. iMore is a mainstay in the Apple community for good reason. Every single iMore writer and editor takes their job seriously, and we prioritize accuracy and editorial independence in everything we do, never receiving compensation for coverage and never pulling punches.

As well as our amazing group of regular contributors, the iMore staff team currently consists of:
Gerald Lynch — Editor-in-Chief
Stephen Warwick — News Editor
Daryl Baxter — Features Editor
John-Anthony Disotto — How To Editor
Tammy Rogers — Senior Staff Writer
James Bentley — Staff Writer