“Many computer programs have a skeuomorphic graphical user interface that emulates the aesthetics of physical objects. Examples include a digital contact list resembling a Rolodex,[18] and IBM’s 1998 RealThings package.[19] A more extreme example is found in some music synthesis and audio processing software packages, which closely emulate physical musical instruments and audio equipment complete with buttons and dials.[20] On a smaller scale, the icons of GUIs may remain skeuomorphic representations of physical objects that are no longer directly applicable to the task they represent (such as a drawing of a floppy disk to represent “save”).

Apple Inc., while under the direction of Steve Jobs, was known for its wide usage of skeuomorphic designs in various applications. This changed after Jobs’ death when Scott Forstall, described as “the most vocal and high-ranking proponent of the visual design style favored by Mr. Jobs”, resigned. Apple designer Jonathan Ive took over some of Forstall’s responsibilities and had “made his distaste for the visual ornamentation in Apple’s mobile software known within the company”.[21] With the announcement of iOS 7 at WWDC in 2013, Apple officially shifted from skeuomorphism to a more simplified design, thus beginning the so-called “death of skeuomorphism” at Apple.[22]

Other virtual skeuomorphs do not employ literal images of some physical object; but rather allude to ritual human heuristics or heuristic motifs, such as slider bars that emulate linear potentiometers[20] and visual tabs that behave like physical tabbed file folders. Another example is the swiping hand gesture for turning the “pages” or screens of a tablet display.[23][24]

Virtual skeuomorphs can also be auditory. The shutter-click sound emitted by most camera phones when taking a picture is an auditory skeuomorph,[25] though it has also been deemed necessary for legal reasons especially due to voyeurism and child predator concerns.[26]

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