“It’s visual masturbation,” says one former senior UI designer at Apple who worked closely with Steve Jobs. “It’s like the designers are flexing their muscles to show you how good of a visual rendering they can do of a physical object. Who cares?”
Inside Apple, tension has brewed for years over the issue. Apple iOS SVP Scott Forstall is said to push for skeuomorphic design, while industrial designer Jony Ive and other Apple higher-ups are said to oppose the direction.
Via John Gruber, who writes:
It’s the difference between a fad and true style. I think Apple’s skeuomorphic designs are a fad, much like the pinstripes and brushed metal of a decade ago.
Update (2012-09-23): Austin Carr:
Today, a former top Apple designer defends Apple’s skeuomorphic approach.