As far as I know, no bots or apps request
sitemap.xml without being told it should be there. Most sites probably don't have it, and of the sites that do, many use gzip, and many call the file something else or put the sitemaps in a subfolder.
Here are all the ones I know of:
Gives your pages an icon in tabs, bookmarks, etc.
Useful if you need to block any pages from search engines, but can be blank to allow access to everything. It can also contain the location for your sitemap.
- Webmaster Tools verification files
The easiest method of verification (saves having useless meta tags in your HTML code). There's
BingSiteAuth.xml. I have one for Yahoo in my root too but that's probably no longer needed.
This file is requested by Adobe Flash any time Flash needs to connect to your site. You will probably never see this file in your logs on a small site, but I had a bunch of requests for it on one site. You can just create a blank file since the default is to block access to external sites.
- .htaccess (Apache)
Obviously not requested by browsers/bots but vital for most sites.
Finally, regarding the icons that the iPhone insists on requesting: there are several sizes that may get requested. My iPhone 3G (iOS 5) requests the 57x57 version and I see 72x72 and 114x114 (most common) in my error logs. So if you want to eliminate all 404s from your logs, mind-boggingly you would need to provide all of these: