“The thing to remember is that UI design is like selling a restaurant, where you can’t just serve up good food in order to run a restaurant. You have to create an environment around the food that gets people in the mood to enjoy a really great meal: presenting the food really nicely, picking the right plates, the lighting on the table, the music that is playing. When you put all that together, it creates a much nicer experience than if you just were to serve up some good food.”
A former top Apple designer
I don't entirely agree with the defense of skeuomorphic design offered by this former Apple designer, but I love his comparison of UI design to a restaurant. Both experiences are the sum of many parts including tangible factors such as aesthetics and function. Yet both contain more abstract layers that work together to create ambiance - a memorable experience. My own two cents on skeuomorphic design is that any aspect of an interface should serve its function. If the function of an interface requires that a certain tone or feeling be established then a skeuomorphic design may be appropriate. But more often than not, I lean towards a more minimal approach. Oh, and for the non-design geeks out there skeuomorphic design is when a product imitates elements that in the past were necessary or functional but have become obsolete - making these elements strictly ornamental, such as the leather texture in the iPhones reminder app.