I have an iPhone but don't use iPhoto for my photo management / manipulation. I use Adobe's Lightroom 2.
Quick Tip: Lightroom does sync photos from your iPhone.
After taking several photos on my phone I realized that I actually did want to keep many of them. (For what it is, it's not a bad camera. Far from perfect, but so is my technique.) Not wanting to install iPhoto and 1) have two apps managing photos, 2) figure out some automated way to merge the two, or 3) ditch all of the work I'd put into Lightroom, I had to figure out something.
I'd tried numerous searches online for how to import iPhone photos into Lightroom, but I couldn't find anything. I would have tried just syncing to Lightroom right away, but the iPhone doesn't show up as a removable disk like an SD card does. Feeling stymied, I kept looking periodically but setting it aside.
One day, I did a long-overdue sync with my main camera's SD card, and happened to have my iPhone connected at the same time. I didn't really pay attention to the dialogue box (Yes, yes, just import everything...), but was surprised at some of the photos that I'd seen in my "Previous Import" smart view. "I could've sworn that I took that picture on my phone..." I'd said. (But I never looked at the metadata.) I shrugged and moved on with life. Later (hours, days, whatever), I had Lightroom open in the background when I hooked up my phone to sync with iTunes, when suddenly, Lightroom's icon started bouncing in the dock! I let it sync, and I saw that it was importing from my phone! Hooray!!!
After much deliberation and searching, my problem was never a problem at all, if only I'd had the right app open at the right time...