"I want Lionel's resources directed to where they will benefit operators like myself. "
That's the problem. I haven't seen Lionel's financials but I'm willing to wager that they're probably a lot like the financials of other specialty enthusiast companies which is to say not great. Their not too distant past is certainly filled with financial difficulties. Operators like yourself are older and I hate to say but you won't be around forever. At some point Lionel needs to start attracting a new generation of customers. Tapping into baby boomer nostalgia isn't a viable long-term business model.
Personally, I prefer the older style controls though for different reasons. I work in the digital entertainment business so when I get home I like to get away from that sort of stuff which is why I got into trains and also also why I enjoy making wooden kayaks/paddleboards. That said, I love the idea of an iPad app as it would allow my 2 and 6 year old kids - as well as the 15 other kids on our block - to run the trains. This of course allows me to justify to my wife further spending on the trains! "Honey, I need that gantry crane for the kids!"