Yeah I wish they would avoid those. I like innovation but I find the ability to shift quickly in an emergency is much easier with an actual shifter. I am also not a huge fan of touch screens with software buttons for the same reason. It draws attention to ensure you are doing what you think you are doing. In aviation we call this heads-in time. I would rather be able to index actual shifter & buttons by feel and never look inside.
The shifter may not be as bad as I think but the example I use is the time I was backing out of a space and the person in the space behind me just started backing up without looking. I was able to slap shifter back in to drive and lurch out of way of impact in quite quickly. I think my time would be considerably longer with rotary knob.
I had one in my Durango R/T and have one now in my Expedition. I like the look of the shifter better but functionally the knob is better. Once you're used to it you will just lay your hand on it and never even look at it. Super quick and easy to use and quickly becomes second nature.
I have had 2 Ram 1500 rentals with the rotary shifter totalling about 3 weeks experience with it. I get it, it's out of the way. And for normal use, it works fine. For behaving badly, I don't like it. The push buttons for the 4WD are even worse! Big turn off for me; fiddling with the tranny is fun.
I'm guessing the location of the knob could have a lot to do with the ease of use. When I had it in my Ram I had to lean forward to the dash to reach it and that wasn't great. In the Durango and the Expedition it's on the console and your hand can rest on it without any leaning forward. There are only 4 positions and Drive is all the way to the clockwise position so that's what I meant by not having to look at it. If you want to manually shift then it's a drag with those two little buttons to deal with but if you have paddle shifters on the wheel then it'd be no problem.