I am very confident in declaring that this is a very excellent device, and one that will replace the need for a full sized iPad for most people. Apple have once again brought out a device that will eat into sales of their own high selling product.
The problem with doing do is, though, that the iPad mini will not replace a laptop or a desktop computer. Which means, the journey to kill Windows all over the world via the tablet computer is now hamstrung as people will buy an iPad mini and feel they still need a full size computer of some description.
Come to think of it, maybe the mini is a stroke of genius. People will buy a mini, feel they have checked off the "tablet" box in their lives, and continue buying Macs as before.
All most people really need is an iPad mini and a full size iPad for when they need to sit and type a letter to Aunt Hilda, but few people are going to own both sized iPads due to the high amount of perceived overlap.
Enough of predicting the future. Truthfully I don't know what's going to happen. All I know is my wife and her female friends have been jealously eyeing off the mini due to its "handbag friendly" size.
Using the iPad mini day to day has led me to add my voice to the cacophone of tech writers declaring it "the real iPad". It truly is such a practical size to sit in bed with, chuck in the car, tweet from the couch with, or scroll through Facebook. It's close enough to useful as an iPod that it has served as a listening device for myself on more than one occasion. It's screen is large enough that it's quite pleasant to sit in bed and watch a movie on.
As I have said before, an HD (or Retina) screen would have been lovely, but the light weight and portability is the reason this thing is so awesome. I don't want another overheating overweight iPad 3-esque device to be honest.
So these days I am using a MacBook Air 11", an iPad mini and an iPhone 5. They are all ridiculously light and portable, and I have no trouble bringing everything along when I am travelling or heading into the office. When I was sporting a larger iPad, I felt I had to choose between it and the MacBook Air. For some reason now I don't feel like a goose carrying both.
Apple are, of course, not the first people to see the advantages of the smaller sized tablet, but they have taken a very good course in arriving at the destination they have. They have the ecosystem that makes buying an iPad mini a no-brainer. An Android tablet is not going to sync wonderfully with any laptop or desktop, an Amazon tablet is not going to have a gazillion apps available for work and play from day one (actually, it's not even available for purchase here full stop) and a Windows 7" tablet is… do they exist?
For all the slander directed at iCloud, it's very nice to be able to make a note or reminder using Siri on my iPad, pick my MacBook, and see it there…or to send my wife a text from the MacBook, see her response on my iPad a few minutes later when I've moved to the couch, and then text her again from the iPhone later on when I need to, with the full conversation visible on each device.
So a quick note: If you are buying someone an iPad for Christmas and are wondering which one to choose, get the mini.