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Even as HP was demonstrating its HP Touchpad tablet device in a table top exhibit at its Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas this week, plenty of HP channel partners were walking around at the event toting iPads.

That’s because Apple iPad enjoys one extremely tangible benefit over what HP’s Touchpad does right now. Apple’s iPad is shipping. Not even HP’s top executives are using Touchpads yet.

HP told Channel Insider that its Touchpad device would ship sometime between now and June at prices comparable to competing tablet products on the market today. But that shipping time may not come soon enough for customers of VLCM, an HP channel partner in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Shaun Steel, partner and general manager at the IT solution provider, told Channel Insider that he has customers looking to buy iPad who don’t want to wait until June or August (when the devices will likely be available through him) to get their tablets. And while they are very interested in the Touchpad because it supports Flash, something that Apple’s iPad can’t and won’t do, they’re ready to buy now. They don’t want to wait anymore.

Another advantage iPad enjoys over HP’s Touchpad when it launches – iPad supports VMware so that users can access Windows applications via PC-over-IP. HP Touchpad will ship with Citrix instead of VMware initially.

So what did Steel do while he was waiting for HP’s Touchpad to be ready for primetime? He went through the long and difficult process of becoming an Apple reseller. And he has customers lined up to buy iPad.