Okay these are my problem scenarios:
1) I'm cooking something and my hands are covered in animal fat. I'm listening to a podcast on my iPhone, which is sat on a counter nearby. It's been playing for some time so the display has turned itself off. Someone comes in and asks me something and I need to pause it quickly, then play it again when the person has gone.
2) I'm listening to an audiobook and the chapter ends. It's a good point to stop listening and go do something else. By the time I've reached for my phone, swiped to unlock it, opened the app and tapped pause, the next chapter has started and the story has now stopped mid-sentence.
So basically, isn't there some solution for these important first world problems? I don't like using headphones all the time, so a headphone-based remote control is not a solution for me.