From the always-proper Economist:
The iPhone’s notification panel, with its imitation linen effect, was not descended from an object that was once made of linen. The switch that, say, allows you to switch an iPhone into Airplane Mode is not an on-screen replacement for what used to be a physical switch. In the early days of graphical user interfaces, designers employed familiar devices, such as folders, trash cans and other objects commonplace in the office. The result was that operating systems ended up being littered with depictions of things that had never existed inside a digital device; the on-screen “trash” icon is not the vestigial remnant of an actual trash can that was once part of the computer, which is why it is really a metaphor, not a skeumorph.
It’s really amazing to see how much the term “skeumorphism” has filtered into the cultural tech-patois. And it’s even more interesting to see how the term has emerged only as the popularity of the design philosophy itself has waned. I imagine the next step will be to strip the green felt off of actual pool tables.