...the best way to view a GUI is on an angle, mocked up on an iPhone screen, with epically shallow depth of field?
I don't care whether or not it's an app designed FOR the iPhone. If you take a photo of an iPhone on an angle with low DoF, absolutely ANYTHING will look good on it, even a pure white screen. I shit you not. The details and reflections in the phone's body make up at least 90% of the visual satisfaction, completely taking focus away from the actual GUI. "But it shows how it would look in the real world." No mate it doesn't. My human eyes don't have the DoF of an expensive Canon macro lens, nor do I use my phone holding it at a 45 degree angle, and sat in the middle of a professionally lit photography studio. When I buy food, I don't need to see a picture of somebody eating it.
On the flip side to making otherwise hideous designs look like the most amazing thing ever, a photo mock up also makes truly beautiful design look like crap. If you've spent days on end hammering away at pixel-level details, why would you showcase it all as a massive blur? You're doing yourself no favours. You make great work so SHOW that you make great work. An Xbox game case shows screenshots not a photograph of screenshots on a TV.
I've just viewed a popular image on a certain popular website. It has hundreds of likes and comments praising it for being so beautiful. It was indeed a phone shot. On the screen was a plain white background, a single solid green line, and a small paragraph of grey text. Three elements. That's it. MS Paint would laugh out loud at such a thing. But slap that thing on a phone and you gain additional fake screen gradients and reflections and a blur that suggests that there COULD potentially be amazing amounts of detail beneath it.
Why is this happening? It's shaping up to be my most disliked design trend of all time. I want to view Graphic User Interfaces not photographs.