I think this is a bit of an assumption really... I've had a few people round of all sort of levels of game know how and not one of them found the wiiU pad at all daunting... it really hasn't been an issue at all... most people these days have touchscreen phones, many already have and play on tablets... The wiiU pad is more understandable than the wiiMote really... its just a normal pad with a screen built in... if you can use a pad and have eyeballs your 3 quarters of the way their... also you can poke the screen with your finger, tutorial over! If their is a problem its that not alot of these people knew anything at all about the wiiU, even that it had a touchscreen pad.
I never get people being down on the N64 pad, its one of my faves... Having the trigger over stick allowed for shooting precision that nothing has matched since... In goldeneye you could sorta flick and shoot for several perfect headshots on moving targets everytime. Also the near perfect control in Pilotwings 64, (that i've seen some say are appalling) ... it required the most accuracy of any game i've ever played, just a nano movement over or under could lead to perfect medals or crashing and burning... if anyone sucked it was just because they weren't good enough!
Oh, you'd be surprised..... quite alot of people have, and use, things like smartphones without actually really knowing how to use them. They can call, they can text..... and that's it. It's something I've run into a thousand times recently. .....it's something that also gets really old, too. I dunno why people buy things like tablets that cost so much but then never learn how to use them.... but that's a whole different rant. It's not even about not knowing how to use something like that, though. A product like this is still not going to make sense to many, and that's something that affects sales, usually heavily. And heck, it can bring up a whole other question: "If this thing is like a tablet, why should I buy it? It's just gonna be like the games I can get on my own phone/tablet, after all!" That's another one I've heard a few times recently. That the console hooks up mainly to a TV instead of just being on the controller all the time doesnt stop people from asking things like that. Consumers as a whole.... well, they aint very bright. Which can make products like this have a much harder time than they otherwise would.
Anyway, even those that have and understand these things can get negative ideas from it. Despite the fact that tablets/whatever such as iOS or Android devices do have "hardcore" games, many actual gamers also associate them with the dreaded "casual" sort (gasp!), and that's one thing that I keep hearing stamped onto the Wii U sort of automatically. Or you get those that just think it's weird.... I can understand THAT one. Even if I think the thing has potential, I'll always see it as another Nintendo gimmick.... and the unanswered question is always "WHY cant they just focus on the actual games for once, like they used to?". Not just their first-party titles, but also making sure that the third-party stuff is there also. And of course, there's no easy answer to that.
As for the N64 controller, I dont actually think it's bad, but I still always thought it to be a tad dumb. Not that it matters, I got rid of that thing a long while ago.