Well.... that's a reasonably strange argument. I mean, if she wants a pen, rotary phone and a phonograph then I don't see how she's going to be happy with a computer and a smartphone of any ilk. Maybe a Nokia 1100, a notebook and a walkman might be better. Personally I rather think that it is.
You almost make a fair point about iPhoto being the tool to take photos off the phone, whereas putting them on is done through itunes. Except that no-one puts photos on their phone in this way - you just use photostreams and icloud. The syncing of photos using itunes only remains in itunes so that it can continue to support the ipod classic.
I don't wish to suggest that the way in which functionality is distributed between some of these applications is perfect - but I really don't believe it's as bad as you say. For instance, you used your iphone to take some photos. If icloud is set up at both ends, then the photos are already on the mac, so there's nothing to do. If you plug in your iphone and there's new photos on it, then iphoto just pops up for you, so that's not so hard either. In fact, it's exactly the same as if you plugged in your digital camera - so it doesn't seem all that bad.
Regarding apps, you don't buy apps for your iphone through itunes. I mean, you can, but since we're discussing your grandmother's use of the device, wouldn't it be simpler for her to buy the app directly on the phone? Isn't that what you do on an Android device?
And contacts. You sync your contacts using icloud, and they don't have to be transferred - it all just happens for you in the background. I'm sure Android does the same thing too. Syncing contacts has been removed from itunes (not sure when), so this is the only way to do it.
Fair's fair though - putting videos that you didn't buy through itunes (yes, I know, it's called itunes and it does more things that just tunes. I get it. But I'm sure you're not just hating on the name, right?) on the phone is a bit of a pain. They have to be properly encoded, and then you have to import them into itunes - annoying because who uses itunes to watch torrented content? - and thence drag them onto the device.
Of course, your grandmother the leet haxxor would probably install something like Extreme Player HD (how's that for a silly name...) and download them into her phone from an SMB share.