For those of a discerning nature, these things might not please your minimal tastes, but they help the vast majority of users understand, and as we’ve already established, this is who Apple want to please, not us on the fringes.
If Apple could have slapped on linen textures, shadows and 3D buttons on Mac OS 1, they definitely would have done. We need not be afraid.
I follow a lot of designers on Twitter, and I hate having to endure the whinging and complaining that goes on with every revision of OS X or iOS. I always bite my lip and choose never to engage in the conversation because it’s boring, and very unimportant.
Al touches on some great points in his article. Mac OS was not made exclusively for a creative production audience. It’s made for anybody.
And the easiest way to engage a mass audience is through proxy or cliché, which is why – even though we might not like it – skeuomorphism is the correct design approach for Apple to take if it is to engage a massive new audience, many of whom may have never touched a computer (my mother, case in point, who uses her iPad daily without any sort of lesson since day one). As I’d hope creative audiences would appreciate, good design cares for the end user, whereas design for designers is usually unsuccessful.
But we needn’t worry for much longer. The hyper realistic calculator – for instance – is a reference to an object that I’d bet won’t be with us for much long (in fact, I can’t remember the last one I have seen one, other than as a relic in a Dieter Rams exhibition). Once a new generation of users comes on board (which is just a few years hence), the proxies that Apple’s designers are using will no longer be valid. Instead, interfaces and patterns that were born in the touch era (such as Clear’s) will soon become the norm. Leather textures and torn edges will disappear with it as a natural, organic progression.
So bear with Apple for a little longer. They’ll reach a skeumorphic peak soon, and tend towards a new interface design paradigm that most of us probably can’t imagine.