Let me start off by saying that the iPad mini is a super exciting little device. I understand why Apple finally entered this market. Competitive pressure, mostly the lower price point, forced Apple to create this device. This of course suggests that people were actually buying tablets of a similar size from other manufactures at lower prices. Instead of allowing the ground to erode from beneath them, like the company did in the early 90s with the Macintosh, they responded relatively quickly in an effort to maintain control of the tablet market. Right or wrong, agree or disagree, this is what is happening.
Why this smaller form-factor is so popular, aside from it's lower price point, is obvious. It offers more flexibility than a smartphone, while offing an even more convenient (in regards to physical size at least) tablet experience. I get that. I think the iPad mini will sell by the bushel. I personally know several people who have stated that they would buy an iPad mini, but not a full-sized one.
To me however, this concept is foreign. In fact, I wish Apple would go the other way with the iPad line, and create larger tablets. I can see a creative professional, churning out awesome work on a larger (12-inch?) iPad. That's not to say one can't do that now, but a larger canvas allows for more versatility. Or at least I believe it would.
In a nut, I can see many consumers, and the education market, eating up this lower cost iPad. The demand is present for the both the iPad brand, and the smaller tablet form factor. Combining the two, given that it's not a subpar experience, should prove to be a powerful thing for Apple. As for me, I'm not in the market for one of these little guys. My current iPad(3) suits me just fine and does everything I need from a tablet, my MacBook Air does all of the heavy lifting that the iPad currently cannot, and my iPhone does a wonderful job of fitting in my pocket and keeping me informed throughout the day.
In other words, Apple is lowering the entry price point of the iPad product line with the new iPad mini. This will undoubtedly help to bolster the company's dominance in the tablet market. Time will tell, but it may even revolutionize education, a market in which this product seems perfectly suited. Regardless of how this little guy performs in the market, it will certainly be fun to watch things unfold. As for me, I just updated to the iPad 3 this past spring, and the size (even though I have yet to touch one, let alone play with it for any length of time) doesn't really appeal to me at this time. Perhaps as the iPad line matures this will change. As for now, I'll leave the iPad mini to the lifestyles that it better suits.