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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Fast Company reports on ongoing internal strife at Apple over the company's use of software skeuomorphism, the inclusion of certain ornamental elements in a product that are carried over from previous tools addressing the same task for which the elements were required for functionality. Daring Fireball's John Gruber has linked to the article, noting that he has heard similar word of an "internal political divide" over the issue.

One of the most frequently-cited examples of questionable skeuomorphism in Apple's software is the company's set of calendar apps, which have recently used a stitched leather design reminiscent of physical desktop calendars, complete with the remnants of torn-off pages visible near the binding. Game Center, which is presented as a gaming table complete with wood grain and green felt, is another oft-cited example.

ical_lion_dev.jpg



Skeuomorph-heavy design of iCal in OS X Lion
According to the report, Apple's iOS chief Scott Forstall has long been a proponent of incorporating skeuomorphic features in the company's software, with Steve Jobs having supported and even originated that design direction for Apple's products. But others such as hardware guru Jonathan Ive find the inclusion of such features distasteful, and Apple's designers have reportedly been divided into camps over which direction to take Apple's products. Fast Company's interviews with former Apple designers and others in the industry reveal the degree of controversy over the practice:
Says the former senior UI designer at Apple, "I feel like [Apple] has concentrated too much on mimicking the visual skeuomorphic approach rather than concentrating on the actual functionality." For example, in iOS 6, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, Forstall recently demoed an animated paper shredder, which will be used to delete e-tickets and coupons. How many iPhone users have ever actually seen a paper shredder in real life? Is it necessary? Or just visual masturbation? "To me, it's lipstick on a pig," says the source intimately familiar with Apple's design process. "There's no need to add glitter if the product can stand on its own."
The report points to Windows 8 as an example of how companies can bring fresh user interface ideas by minimizing reliance on skeuomorphism to try to replicate experiences that may no longer be optimal or even relevant. A follow-up report will be examining the issue from Microsoft's perspective, with the conclusion of today's report hinting that Microsoft sources have unflattering things to say about Apple's approach.

Article Link: Apple's Designers Clashing Over 'Tacky' Software Skeuomorphisms
 

chrmjenkins

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2007
5,322
154
CA
The iCal picture shown is tacky, but I haven't seen anything in iOS that draws my ire. Mostly just cute or whimsical touches that harken back to the paper world.

edit: 4 comments in and I'm the first meaningful one. I'll try to be faster next time.
 
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Eddloggg

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2012
4
0
I am fine with Game Center, but please change the osX versions of iCal and Address Book. I didn't upgrade to lion for this reason, and now that my new Air comes with it I want to vomit every time I see it.
 
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gmanist1000

macrumors 68030
Sep 22, 2009
2,695
310
There's always been lots of talk about this in the forums, good to see an article on it.
 
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FFArchitect

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2010
196
0
Never thought I'd see the words "visual masturbation" on MacRumors.

Then again...
 
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SqB

macrumors 6502
Jan 14, 2008
451
247
Northern Colorado
So maybe I'm just old, but the elements work well for me. I can't figure out how to do anything in Windows 8 so I'm not terribly interested in what the designers responsible for that have to say.

Making things on the screen work like they do in the "real world" has always been an Apple trademark. Why all the fuss about something that helps people connect more naturally and intutively?
 
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chrmjenkins

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2007
5,322
154
CA
I am fine with Game Center, but please change the osX versions of iCal and Address Book. I didn't upgrade to lion for this reason, and now that my new Air comes with it I want to vomit every time I see it.

You didn't upgrade to lion because you don't like the ui design of two programs?
 
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FrizzleFryBen

macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2009
404
18
Charlotte, NC
What drives me nuts is changing from month to month in iCal. If forces me to wait for the page to turn. Really annoying when trying to go three months down the road quickly.
 
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Andy-V

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2007
402
401
iCal is the only one that is outright ugly. I can't think of any other Apple app that looks particularly bad.
 
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Sixtafoua

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2009
374
0
Boston, MA
I love/ hate these looks too. I think it goes to show apple has great graphic designers on hand, but then again, it's not very creative or original. iOS and OS X don't have that the modern and creative UI that WP8 and Windows 8 have.
 
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LastLine

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2005
1,310
21
iCal is the only one that is outright ugly. I can't think of any other Apple app that looks particularly bad.

See iCal's one of my favourites. Reminders? Can't figure out what that's meant to be.

As someone who sells Apple products though? Customers reactions tend to be 'Ooooohhhh' rather than 'Ewwwwwww'
 
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JPyre

macrumors 6502
Mar 28, 2005
365
12
Pistolvania
I think its the little things that set Apple apart.

The best example is the volume slider in iOS6, as you change the direction you hold the phone - the reflection changes on the button.

While not having little things like that wouldnt hurt, it would toss them into the pile of simple and lazy like ui design everyone else.
 
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jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,559
2,691
Doesn't "lipstick on a pig" imply that it was ugly in the first place, and "makeup" won't help?

The next quote seems to imply that he likes the base product just not the skeumorphic animations. Unless maybe he is saying he likes the hardware and not the software.
 
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