Ugh, yeah, I hate those sorts of design decisions. I challenge the assertion that it's a brilliant idea though, except perhaps in a "sounds good in advertisements" way - there's a reason buttons tend to show up in groups, because individually they are an *extremely* limited interface.
You can't efficiently choose between more than two states with a single button - cycling is pretty much your only option without a non-trivial tap-code. And that means, on average, cycling through half of the states to get where you want to be. Multiple buttons can be used to reduce the problem by cycling through orthogonal options, or even offering a discrete button for each state.
Personally I prefer multistate switches: Twist the knob (or slide the slider) to the position that reflects your desire and be done with it. One single motion chooses between several options, and once you establish muscle-memory you can achieve precise results as soon as your hand finds a single control, even in complete darkness.
But sadly cost is typically a high design priority, and buttons are usually cheaper to integrate into a device than multistate switches, and the fewer the buttons the cheaper. Which leads to cool-sounding ad copy being used to spin cost-cutting compromises into slick-sounding "features"