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In my bachelor thesis (B.A., media science) I am comparing the user interfaces of iOS 5.1.1 and Windows Phone 7.5. I'm focussing on their use of "real world" things. While I know of their guidelines (WP and iOS), I was wondering if documents by these companies exist that don't tell developers how to design but justify how these mobile operating systems look.

I'd appreciate your help and am also looking for literature on the use of real world textures/sounds/metaphors in user interfaces.

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The real world influences are called skeuomorphism, but you're best off in a separate topic for that. – dhmstark Jun 20 '12 at 11:09
I've seen a few writings talking about the relative benefits and drawbacks of Skeuomorphism (Apple's path) vs MS Metro style (Flat, typographic). However not much from those companies themselves. – Jay Jun 20 '12 at 13:01
@jay would you share those writings with me? Some links would help me a lot – G McLuhan Jun 20 '12 at 14:58
@GMcLuhan I've included some links in the answer below. – Jay Jun 21 '12 at 8:02
up vote 0 down vote accepted

@G McLuhan

I thought I would turn my comment above into an answer. Basically, while I've seen little from Apple or Microsoft themselves I have seen some interesting analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of the respective design approaches.

These are some links to the analysis that I could find:

One interesting thing to note is that there are several apps available (and quite popular) in the Apple App store break with the 'convention' used in many native apple apps. For example:

The latest Apps released by apple seem to solidly follow their Skeuomorphic pattern.

If you want some information on general principles of design at Apple try looking at interviews and profiles of Jonny Ive (their head of design). While not guidelines, they help to understand their method.

Here is one example:

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