Will iPad Sales Beat the iPhone? Who Cares?

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Conflicting reports have surfaced for the last week about how well Apple's still-unreleased iPad is selling, how well it will sell, and whether it'll make more of a dent in the market than the iPhone's debut.

Most recently, unnamed sources told the Wall Street Journal that "hundreds of thousads" of iPads have sold since pre-orders began a week ago, and one source thinks the iPad's three-month sales will outdo the iPhone. But hold on: A bookie (no, seriously) gives only a 28 percent chance of the iPad beating the iPhone to one million units sold.

I don't really care for those predictions. Here are a few reasons why:

The iPad is Not the iPhone

Yes, the apples and oranges argument. An iPhone requires a two-year service agreement with AT&T and fits in your pocket. An iPad doesn't require any monthly service and doesn't need to leave the house if you don't want it to. These are totally different products.

By all means, compare the Droid and the iPhone, or the Droid and the Nexus One, but measuring the iPhone against the iPad is like comparing sales of Sony laptops and Playstation 3s.

2010 is Not 2007

Even if the iPad was a comparable product to the iPhone, which it isn't, comparisons between product launches that are three years apart shouldn't be taken too seriously. Markets grow. That's kind of the whole point of this capitalism thing upon which companies like Apple are founded.

I'll revise my position if someone can systematically account for the way people have embraced touchscreens, apps, and mobile broadband over the last three years.

The Horserace is Not Significant

Off the top of my head, I can't tell you the number of iPhones sold to date (okay, over 42 million if you add up this chart). I can tell you that people line up outside the Apple Store to get the latest model, that I see iPhones everywhere, and that third-party developers love the app store despite the way Apple treats them.

If all that anecdotal evidence proves true for the iPad, then the product will be a success. Of course, sales figures are important in the long run, but quibbling over tens of thousands of units is not.

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