A friend had been extolling the virtues of the iPad mini. It's lighter, you can hold it in one hand and you don't notice the smaller screen size. My friend claimed to have swapped his iPad3 for an iPad mini. So I was intrigued - could the iPad Mini really be that much better?
I've always been a great one for efficiency and utilisation (squeezing out the last of the toothpaste before buying a new one, for example) and so the first thing that strikes me about the iPad Mini is the opposite of the first thing that struck me about the iPad1. The screen... goes... all the way... to the edge of the iPad!! There's no useless black border round the edge. (Well there is a little bit at the top and bottom, but I can live with that.) Given this, the second thing that strikes you is that the amount of screen real estate really doesn't seem to be that much lower. So far, so good.
The screen resolution of the iPad Mini falls far short of the new iPad (163 compared to 264 pixels per inch) and for hardcore gamers, the iPad2 processor inside the Mini might not react quite as seamlessly. If these aren't your primary concerns the Mini seems to win hands down - plus it's significantly cheaper. Once again Apple has released a tablet that improves upon apparent perfection.
So if you are looking to purchase your first iPad, the Mini seems like a solid bet, but is it worth throwing away a perfectly functioning iPad3? Another of my friends, an academic, recently showed me his Towers of Hanoi-esque pile of Mac products. He'd recently completed the set by buying a Mac Book Pro, which meant that he literally had an Apple product for any occasion. For me the answer to my question is no, I don't see enough (any?) uses for a Mini where I couldn't use my iPad3. But, in addition to making great products, Apple's other strength is creating the kind of fans that my friend is. And for them, perhaps, the answer is yes.