It's all too easy to get caught up in the microanalysis of holiday sales trends. Analysts and investors can sometimes seem to consider a few weeks' sales an ironclad harbinger of a company's longevity. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is certainly not immune, with sales figures of its new iPhone rarely absent from the news.

The most recent stats come from France Telecom's (NYSE: FTE) Orange unit, which announced that it sold 70,000 iPhones during the device's first month on the market in France. The last report from Orange trumpeted 30,000 units in the first five days, so obviously, the rate of sales has slowed. This reduction has led a number of pundits to characterize the figure as "only 70,000," frequently commenting that this fell short of expectations.

In reality, all this week-to-week tracking means little in the long run. Scrutinizing Orange's French sales, or how they pale next to sales for AT&T (NYSE: T) in the U.S., is about as meaningful as judging a songwriter's talent by his or her first few singles.

Consider that it took Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) five years to gather 1 million subscribers to its BlackBerry devices, but only 10 subsequent months to hit 2 million. Now, after another three years, the wireless-email juggernaut has more than 12 million subscribers. Apple's iPhone may not enjoy the same level of success as the BlackBerry, but BlackBerry's history shows that you don't have to be leading by 10 lengths out of the gate to finish the race in the money.

At this point, investors in iPhone-selling wireless carriers should care more about customer conversions than total sales. For instance, Orange states that 48% of iPhone buyers are new to its network. This means that the iPhone is helping Orange take a significant number of customers from SFR, the No. 2 wireless carrier in France.

And the iPhone really doesn't matter to Apple right now anyway. We already know the iPhone is a success, but we won't know just how successful until a few more generations of the device come out -- not to mention competing devices from the likes of HTC, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Samsung.

We're still in the first inning of a long game here, folks. The iPhone has held up very well on its first release, establishing a firm footing in the market. For now, Fools shouldn't draw too many conclusions beyond that.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock's new year started with a bang, then a knock, then a rattle. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. He is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. France Telecom is an Income Investor recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy goes with both red and white wines.