At first glance, the iTypewriter, an old-fashioned feeling keyboard for the iPad, looks as if it might be stranded between those two aesthetics: It's a sleek-yet-retro gadget with a fundamentally flawed premise.
The brain child of Edinburgh-based industrial designer Austin Yang, the iTypewriter seeks to integrate "the old feeling of typing and... the lastest technology," providing "strong haptic feedback" when used. In other words, the typist feels the force of each keystroke.
Sound harmless? Well, just watch the video.
Aside from the painfully slow typing of the user in the iTypewriter's demo clip, some might say the mere sound of the keys striking the iPad's notoriously fragile screen is akin to that of nails scratching a chalkboard.
But taking retro to extremes seems to be Yang's thing. Another of his projects, the iTurntable, is an iPod dock that looks like an old record player.
Again, the effect is strictly aesthetic. Although play is controlled by manipulating the iTurntable's arm, hooking a digital device to a fake record player isn't going to replicate the "warm" analog sound loved by vinyl enthusiasts. But in case you're wondering, yes, there is an app for that.