My personal opinion. It's an evolution/collision moment ?
Cars are evolving but the rapid evolution and desire to use your smartphone (for more than just calls) has collided with it.
Then it's down to personal preference, risk adversity/bad experience, law.
The premium car brands wanted to add posh SatNav and other funky features (setting suspension and ride) so developed the dashboard knobs and buttons with a high focus on driving experience. They then added even more steering wheel buttons (dozens) and central/speedo active panels. Now an LED panel is cheaper to make than traditional dials so it is a saving to them and cool profitable upgrade they can sell to you. Phone integration came along to make calls, but smartphones became touch screen and app driven instead which made it difficult. I don't think we are worried about the call as much as the screen and apps usage.
Apple introduced Carplay in order to manage this risk, ditto android. Carplay requires the car maker to pay money (not insignificant) to enable their car screen to be the slave of the phone and only permit Carplay approved apps to be enabled on the cars display, which is in the middle and so slightly out of line of site. It also requires them to provide a more expensive touch screen interface. These apps are submitted to Apple with the carplay flag enabled and so tested for "bad" driving things, size of icons etc. This was Apple being responsible and trying to mimic what the car makers have done for years, reduce trouble. However nothing on the phone forces you to enable carplay so you can still play on the move.
The phone vendors have spent millions of collective hours trying to work out how to avoid blowing up their customer base who may be walking fast (faster than you can drive in London at rush hour) cycling or just trying to be stupid and kill themselves driving. There is no real way of them telling as paths border roads. A few companies have hung themselves trying to fix that type of issue. Waze pops up a message saying "are you the passenger?". Tell me you have not just hit yes when driving in a rush. All that does is get them off the hook for a legal case "It allowed me too so I am going to sue them for causing the crash". Just think McDonalds having to put "caution hot" on a coffee cup, sad. If they put a stop-moving-to-program lock on it you will just use a different App or put it into airplane mode etc. These are fast moving problems to code around.
Now we have cars becoming so software enabled (Volvo, Tesla) that they just use the screen(s) for everything. It brings a couple of benefits. You can change the software and introduce new features just like your iPhone so allowing upgrades to stay in line with things like your iPhone. You can also reduce your total parts count, complexity and costs. You can adapt for language and market without many parallel parts. It has some issues, including buggy software, reduced long term expectancy as often pointed out. The cost and service issues means that It's not going away. It also keeps the customer in the franchise for servicing and controls parts prices due to keying new bits in with tools.
The VC investment in IT-Auto stuff is huge right now. There are dozens of car security ideas being pushed around to avoid electric hi-jacking. Given the revenue in the market the opportunity to make profit is a bit of a goldrush.
It requires acclimatisation just as the first command systems did. Since all my lights/wipers/gears are now automatic I am not really overly burdened from a-b these days. When did we get beyond matches to a cigarette lighter to reduce risk. Are we still right to eat an apple? Given changing cassettes and CDs used to be the same danger and we got used to our personal approach what's the difference? Some people will do the right thing and wait, some will risk things. I see the Apple Music "playlist" as a benefit. It knows your taste and plays for longer than a CD. This remains more about education than capability.
From the car makers point of view CarPlay/Auto removes one of the differentiators and potential unique elements of their car which does not help. It causes a degree of friction, you need to offer it but you don't want it to hit your profits or sales model. It's all about the volume and upgrades for them.
I don't think we are close to a final point with this yet. IMHO the active dashboard in the Audi is a good thing as the positive outweighs the negative in my view. It is central, high and great line of sight for driving. I can place more or less information in it and this can change based on problems and urgency. Lets not forget SAABs old story about nothing but the speedo (did you ever see a SAAB aircraft cockpit). I am surprised head up display have not become far more prevalent as these would be a significant benefit.
My guess is that dashboards are going to collapse into single LED panels and some active buttons and a heads up display. I think you are totally correct about still needing the core buttons to save time and reduce risk. Voice is improving so fast with AmazonEcho and other home toys that it needs to become more integrated into the car. The issue is that for a decent vocabulary they need a cloud connection which you cannot count on.
However the phone is becoming more important than the car systems and at some point they need to work out how they play together. Apple and Google are pushing into this space even more with their ambitions for cars and autonomous driving technologies. This will be the big bang moment and it is not far off, 5 years I think. Either google builds a car or Apple buys/cooperates which is their normal model. I think the Tesla move was part of the "new/tech/Look at me" approach a new company can benefit from in differentiating their product. They appear to have done it well with the upgrades and changes as well. I would prefer a few more buttons for shortcuts. I think Volvo is closer to the current acceptable norm.
A massive amount of money is spent on designing these things but right now it is still split across different things (phone speed/revs suspension A/C HiFi on centre panel or main speedo panel or duplicated using buttons etc) so cannot be optimal. It needs a clean approach with someone willing to take a punt like Tesla did, Google perhaps. Phone as a key/settings/sat-nav/audio/security etc. You could have soft programmable buttons on the dash and allow people to program them with personal preferred functions. Of course you will need a 13 year old handy to set it up. The Audi TT step of putting the HVAC controls in the air ducts is a beautiful example of visual buttons. If your smartphone gets in it could pre-set your values and buttons. Other buttons like this could be set in the dash for personal settings programming.
The rate of change of a car maker - 4 years for body, more for underlying hardware. The rate of change in IT, every year for phones and twice a year for software updates. Most of the car vendors have even given up making phone mounts for each handset! So we have some space to close for it to be tightly coupled.
I watch this area like a hawk as it is at the junction of my favourite topics. Now all we need is a bit of wood to nail it to in the Mog.
Plod is unfair if you use it with rude intention. I love Her Majesty's Pointy Hats, not that many still wear the old pointy hat either. Perhaps in these modern times we should involve the obligatory anti stab vests in the name