Skeuomorphism

ios-7-logoApple announced the new iOS a few days back and it looks like they ditched skeuomorphism all together.  I think it’s a mistake for two reasons:

1) Steve Jobs was a fan of skeuomorphism and since his vision single-handedly brought about the success of iMacs, MacBooks, iTunes, iPods, iPhones, iBooks, and iPads, I think we should listen to him.

2) With everyone copying everyone else and everyone suing everyone else, skeuomorphism is actually one of the few things that Apple had a corner on.  Whenever you look at any other phone besides an iPhone, you can’t tell them apart.  They all look the same, like black people to my wife (she says she’s not racist, but she confused Chris Rock and Warren Moon).  The Galaxy looks like the Evo looks like the Optimus.  The only ones that really stand out are the Blackberry (because of the insane number of buttons in a tiny space), a Windows Phone (because there is no wallpaper, only tiles) and an iPhone (because of skeuomorphism).  Basically, Apple is taking out the one thing that really sets it apart.

It’s be like if I decided to quit making comics and focus fill-time on my kids.  Well now I’m just like every other middle-class white-dad on the planet who’s too afraid to develop a serious drinking problem.  I leave my underwear on the floor and the toilet seat up and I’m the disciplinarian in the family and I like cars, and I’m good at fixing things…   The comic – as simple and as time consuming as it is – is really the only thing the sets me apart from other dads.    I don’t want that to go away.  I don’t want to be like everyone else.

But, much like the comic, maybe abandoning skeuomorphism wasn’t a choice.  Maybe it’s something they had to do.  Maybe they did some research and found that fewer people are buying their products because they look old-timey.  Maybe it just doesn’t make fiscal sense anymore to spend so much time and effort on something that, ultimately, only exists to separate them from the crowd.

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