The iPhone is still a great first smartphone because it has an easier learning curve. The keyboard is a bit smaller, though.
Leo prefers Android because he likes to have a bigger screen, choice of keyboard, and the option to change his battery. These, and other options, the iPhone doesn't offer. Android is a bit advanced for a beginner, but if she wants these options, then it may be the best way to go. Leo recommends going to the Verizon store (since that's her carrier) and trying them. That will help her decide what would be best for her.