Buried in a story on Best Buy's retail strategy, CEO Brian Dunn mentioned a startling fact: Internal estimates showed that the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50%.

"People are willing to disproportionately spend for these devices because they are becoming so important to their lives," Dunn said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Charlie Sorrel from Wired was unsurprised by the figure, writing that it "proves what we at Gadget Lab thought all along: that Mom and Pop would switch from cheap, unreliable and hard-to-use laptops and buy the iPad instead, an intuitive device which covers 90% of their computing needs."

"When the iPad gets a FaceTime camera (and hopefully a video-capable version of Skype)," he added, "then the only people buying laptops will be those who need the horsepower for work.

Meanwhile, an analyst for Morgan Stanley confirmed the anecdotal comment from Best Buy. A recent report from the research firm graphed out the damage done to the notebook PC market over the past eight or nine months. 

Cannibalization by Apple's iPad is at least partially responsible, the report suggests, noting the steady decline in sales since January 27, when Apple unveiled the iPad. 

Best Buy's emphasis on gadgets and games is fine with customers such as Anthony Thomas, 36, a manager for a Texas software company. "Five years ago, I mainly came here for appliances and kitchen stuff," Thomas told the Journal -- after buying the videogame "Halo: Reach."

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