^^^ I totally agree with that. I think this thing of trying to mimic real object is way overplayed. Digital should remain digital.
This reminded me of this article on the upcoming Windows Phone 7 :
(Endgadget)One of the more recent trends in UI design has been the attempt to make the digital appear analog. It arguably started with the NeXT OS, which had photorealistic icons and used clever grayscale techniques to give three-dimensional depth to windows, scroll bars and other elements. Today, Apple's iPhone compass app looks like it might be more at home on an 18th-century clipper ship, and the voice recorder app looks at home in a recording studio somewhere around 1950 -- tap on the "microphone" and the VU meter will react much as it would in real life. Google's added subtle 3D effects to Android's app scrolling. I haven't thought that much about this trend until I recently spent some time using Windows Phone 7.
It's perhaps a minor issue but one of the things I like about WP7 is that it's not a digital UI pretending to be analog. The user interface is flat. There are no photorealistic depictions of real world items, no shading, and no 3D effects. Everything is conveyed through the use of fonts, shapes and color. It's digital and it's proud. Overall, I like it, and the more I use it, the more I prefer it.
Look at the picture above and not the absence of fake buttons, or 3D icons or shades.
Same look happens on Windows Media Center. No fake buttons either, you click on the words: Media, Movies, Recorded TV, etc. No square frame delimiting anything. You don't need to really. Even in a touchscreen.
One of the things I don't like in all the front ends I've seen to date is this. You have to draw a square or circle for every single function. Even if it's just for displaying the freaking date or time, there a little square frame around it. Most if not all front ends suffer from this "buttonitiis", they populate the screen with buttons and think it's cool.
My first front end should be something like that above and/ore like windows media center combination. Ideally a scrolling digital paper like that with no buttons would work for me.
I think the above image is way cooler than if it were populated with small icons and buttons and squares with shadow effects.