Hey @ChicagoAndy. I'm just going to try to influence your perspective a bit by building on @plainsane 's analogy of the car:
1. Fixed (Fully automatic)
Hit start, take it out of park and go. Not as many people struggle.
2. As Needed (Semi-automatic / Paddle shift - Audi):
Same as above, but if you know when & how to shift the paddles at the right time, the extra control gives you a more optimal driving experience. If you make a mistake and shift too late or too early, there are some electronic failsafes in place.
3. Flex (Fully manual transmission)
Definitely takes more time to learn, more people struggle to do so! Now you have to get your left foot involved and figure out the tiny sweet spot for engaging & disengaging the clutch. You have to take your right hand off of the wheel and know when to use it to shift. Shift too early or too late and you risk a stall or worse yet engine damage. Boy, is it fun to drive and you have maximum control.
It sounds to me that the Rachio team might be giving us all three, or something equivalent. That way we users get to pick the option that we desire and have time for. The other point is that this has to be an insanely difficult problem to find a one-size-fits all solution for. I grew up in the Chicagoland area, and have spent the other half of my life here in the AZ desert. The weather & seasonal patterns, vegetation and temperature extremes between the two areas are worlds apart. Consider the rest of the US and add to it mother nature's unpredictability, and imagine the algorithms required to make a one-size-fits all solution with minimal user input ?
Anyhow, good luck with your continued exploration of the setup. Looking forward to a Cubs/Sox World Series!