Best Buy CEO Brian Dun claims the iPad has cannibalized sales of PC laptops by as much as 50 per cent.

His remarks are contained within an interview with the Wall Street Journal in which Dun describes the retailer’s move to offer a wider selection of digitally-connected gadgets. Expect to see smartphones, eBook readers and iPods in full view at BestBuy this Holiday Season, the report informs us.

But the real meat is in Dun’s description of the demise of the PC laptop at the hands of the iPad. On Tuesday, Best Buy said it will expand iPad distribution to all of its 1,093 U.S. stores Sept. 26.

“People are willing to disproportionately spend for these devices because they are becoming so important to their lives,” Best Buy Chief Executive Brian Dunn said in an interview. “We are really positioning the company to be the place where people can come and see the best of the connected world.”

Mr. Dunn also said internal estimates showed that the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50%.

Meeting this huge demand means iPod sales are now approaching 36 million per year and has driven Apple to increase its monthly manufacturing to around 3 million.

The device seems set to become ever more viable as a laptop replacement on November’s introduction of iOS 4.2. Printing, multitasking, and a unified inbox will be among a series of features which amplify the utility of the tablet computer.