You are partly right. Recco is getting better and everyone should have at least one reflector on them. It's still primarily a recovery device because it has to be sent for. A person under snow has about 5 min to breathe, Recco and outside help will almost never get there fast enough to locate and dig up a body in that time frame. I have heard the 15 minute thing. What that is a is a point on a statistical Curve. I think it represents a 50% survival rate. The survival goes down very rapidly after that 15 minute mark and this assumes no mechanical injury. The idea that all inbounds slides are small is ludicrous. On a big storm day with wind loading, the patrol can't really keep up and can't bomb during operating hours. Some of the best skiing I ever did was in storms with lots of wind and lifts on the verge of shutting down. Sometimes the tracks fill in from one run to the next. Trail closures are not always respected and avalanches triggered in a closed area can reach the main runs. As I hope you know, it doesn't take a big slide to kill you. Many fatalities are in smaller slide paths and some I have seen are ridiculously tiny.
Of course the point that an unskilled person can't operate a beacon is sound. Without training and a probe and shovel your recovery skills are almost zero. You won't be much help to anyone. The beacon will definitely make it easier for others to find you. Many recreational skiers around here carry the pack and wear the beacon on big days around here. One of them or a patroller will be on scene long before the Recco arrives. At least long before as measured against a 5 minute air supply.
Do you need a beacon?... Not really. Is it a bad idea?..... No. Could it save my life?..... Maybe. It is your best hope in the unlikely event of getting caught in an in-bounds avalanche. What's the downside?.... A few hundred bucks and the chance of "looking" like a gaper. Is it worth it? I don't know, I have one because I ski backcountry and am trained in rescue. I sometimes wear it in bounds. YMMV. I also carry a whistle. Everyday.
I can think of some fatal burials where the time under snow was right in the 5 minute zone. There was an ice mask and no obvious trauma. I have also know of a guy who was under for 90 minutes and was located by an avalanche dog. Waiting for Recco is like telling the guy who just had a heart attack "hold on... an AED is on the way". Most people would want CPR initiated immediately.
Inbounds recco is a rescue device, if we were talking about Back Country i would say recco is a definatly a body recovery device. Most resorts that have converted to recco have multiple transmitters all over the mountain. The guns are getting smaller so they are easier to manage. Personally i think every person should have at least one recco device on them inbounds.