Apple’s iPad may soon put a stake in the heart of netbooks, research analysts said this week.

The momentum is rapidly shifting from netbooks to tablets, said experts at Forrester Research and DisplaySearch in notes issued today and last Tuesday, respectively. And Apple’s iPad is leading the charge.

Although only about 3.5 million tablets will be sold this year, by 2012 the form factor will outsell netbooks, according to Forrester’s projections. By 2015, more consumers will be using slates like Apple’s iPads than use the diminutive, traditional clamshell-style netbook PCs.

“Tablet growth will come at the expense of netbooks, which have a similar grab-and-go media consumption and Web browsing use case as tablets but don’t synchronize data across services like the iPad does,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester analyst, in a statement Thursday. “Consumers didn’t ask for tablets…, but Apple is successfully teaching consumers to want this new device.”

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