Given Apple's focus on videoconferencing with iChat AV, I always found it strange that there wasn't a front camera in the iPhone. Looking at their gigantic iPhone patent, it may be coming in the next generation:
"In some embodiments, the functions may include telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, blogging, digital photographing, digital videoing, Web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing. Instructions for performing these functions may be included in a computer-readable storage medium or other computer program product configured for execution by one or more processors."
"In some embodiments, an optical sensor is located on the back of the device, opposite the touch screen display on the front of the device, so that the touch screen display may be used as a viewfinder for either still and/or video image acquisition. In some embodiments, an optical sensor is located on the front of the device so that the user's image may be obtained for videoconferencing while the user views the other video conference participants on the touch screen display. In some embodiments, the position of the optical sensor can be changed by the user (e.g., by rotating the lens and the sensor in the device housing) so that a single optical sensor may be used along with the touch screen display for both video conferencing and still and/or video image acquisition."
Most probably, it was shaved from the first version for the same reason 3G was avoided: Cost. My guess is that, as manufacturing prices went down, Apple added the GPS and 3G. And next in the Big Features list, is videoconferencing (late, as almost every other 3G phone in the market has this feature already). [PC World]