Someone high at apple really loves the bezel.
This 5 year old design of the front panel does not seem to go anywhere.
For two more years and likely more we are stuck with 30% of wasted real estate.
Well, it was a such an opportunity to make it right along with UI and resolution change.
A dedicated software gesture will work most of the time. In the event (< 0.1%?) you need a hardware out, use Power button to get to lock screen. You may have camera and ear speaker as a reference point instead That's right. Using a device breaks it eventually, similar to "Life is dangerous - it leads to death"
It's funny to see how my next arguments in the list addressed yours that you were about to post. Here are some more. You already have one. It is called a Power button. Do you often bump the Power button? It is actually the Home button that breaks the most on iPhones: https://www.google.com/search?q=iphone+home+button No, not on a phone. You do not hold it like a tablet. And on a tablet I would much prefer if it could be turned off...
I am really amused by the lack of imagination people showing on this board. 1. Home button can be replaced with a UI gesture (for example, five-finger pinch) 2. If #1 is not good enough (for those desperate for hardware out) it can be moved to one of the edges. 3. If push button on edge is not good enough (hit by accident?) make it a slide button. Whatever works, just leave the real estate to the screen!