Part of me wants to see a taller iPhone happen by removing the physical home button. What about going back to the home screen or fast app switching? Gestures could be used.
We’re already being trained to use gestures like dragging up on the lock screen to reveal the camera or pulling down from the status bar to reveal Notification Center. I don’t think it would be unreasonable to use a gesture to reveal the home screen or quickly switch between apps.
To get to the home screen, a drag up from the bottom of the screen to toss the current application out of the way and reveal the home screen could work. Perhaps dragging up a smaller distance reveals the multitasking tray of apps. Better yet, why not shuffle through apps by dragging in from the right or left of the screen, similar to the iPad’s four-finger gesture.
I agree that the physical home button provides an easy target to execute common tasks, but I’d rather see the home button go away over altering the physical dimensions of the device to make more room for a larger screen.
For those users who have an extreme attachment to the home button, there could be a setting to show a digital home button as an alternative.