There’s a great piece on design skeuomorphism on the Realmac Blog. Here’s a sample:
Despite it being a current design trend, skeuomorphism isn’t a new thing. The earliest example of realism in an interface that comes to my mind is Calculator which shipped with the Macintosh in 1984. Even today on the Mac, as well as iOS, the design is still the same as the real-life object. Looking at the wider picture, the very notion of the Desktop was of course inspired by the thing it was named after, what with there being folders, documents, and files on both. The reason for this is simple – to help familiarise new users to something that was a new technology. We’re at the stage where we’ll forever be creating new technologies for users to interact with, so should we still be designing in the same mindset to make everything look realistic so it is easier to use, or can we be more clever than that?
Read the article in full here.