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Gamma should be 2.2 and the whitepoint native
EyeOne Match (with the EyeOne Display 2), basICColor display (which also accepts the Spyder as a colorimeter) and other monitor profiling packages will reset the video graphics card to linear for you, without any need for user intervention.
Try the Spyder with a trial copy of basICColor display, and see how that works for you.
It doesn't matter what profile you set in Apple's Display Preferences. The i1 Display calibrator clears the TRC and gamma curves from the video card LUTs from whatever profile is loaded no matter if it's 2.2 or 1.8 gamma. You set target gamma (should be 2.2) or native gamma in i1 Match and run it.
On the iMac all you can do is adjust the backlight with the brightness slider in Display Preferences. It should be adjusted according to how bright a white sheet of paper looks under available ambient light to display white. The preloaded profile would only influence the appearance of contrast in a grayramp as you adjust the brightness slider, not the brightness of the white on the display.
Other than that the preloaded canned profile doesn't influence anything but allow i1 Display to reload it after final calibration to compare before and after affects of calibration.