The piracy rates for apps on the iPad may be much higher than on the iPhone, if one developer’s report is any indication.

Developer Vladimir Roth said 50 percent of copies of the game Aqua Globs HD were pirated on the iPad, compared to an estimated five percent on the iPhone. Those figures come from comparing app downloads to the number of users registered on the OpenFeint leaderboards.

Why would the iPad see higher rates of piracy? The most common explanation is that apps are more expensive on the iPad, even though many of them are nothing more than resized versions of an iPhone app. But iPad apps are still plenty affordable: Aqua Globs is free for iPhone but only costs $1.99 for iPad.

IT may be that users who pirate games already own a copy of the iPhone version and are reluctant to pay for the same game twice, Roth told mobile gaming blog Pocket Gamer.

Another possibility has to do with the iPad’s similarity to a tablet, netbook or laptop, which don’t restrict users to a single source for programs. IPad users may not be ready to accept the idea that they have to go through Apple in order to get programs on the computer-like device.

Apple expends plenty of effort deterring pirates, but the truth is that piracy has not been a major issue on the iPhone because it’s not that common and pirated apps do not necessarily represent lost sales. In fact, we reported that mobile analytics firms Pinch Media was considering tossing its piracy-tracking feature due to lack of use among developers.

Piracy is annoying, Roth said, but it’s not necessarily costing him anything. From his interview with Pocket Gamer:

“I don’t think piracy necessarily equates to lost sales. We’d rather use the time and effort to work on improving our existing titles and working on new games.

“Still, it’s not a nice feeling knowing some people think it’s fine to pirate your games, as it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifices to produce them in the first place.”

What do you think? Is there more incentive to pirate apps for the iPad than the iPhone?