I have yet to sync the apps on my iphone with itunes, and when prompted itunes suggests it is going to erase all the apps before syncing – will I therefore lose games saves, etc. associated with the apps?
Will this erase the data on the apps when you sync to iTunes and back onto the iPhone?
Since this is your first time syncing with iTunes you will want to go to File>Transfer purchases from iPod. That will sync all your current apps with iTunes.
Since this is the first time you have synced your iPhone with iTunes you will want to select File>Transfer Purchases from iPod to get all your currently installed apps synced with iTunes.