The competition is losing out because smaller tablets are less enjoyable to use than the 10-inch iPad. It's really that simple. Since the competition can't seem to figure out how to deliver a cheaper product than Apple except by making their tablets with low-resolution 7-inch screens, they're SOL. Of course a superior OS and easier access to decent software helps, too. Basically the iPad, all told, is a joy to use. It is a little heavy for some uses but otherwise it has struck the right balance as evidenced by it being one of the most successful products in consumer electronics history.
It is not, of course, the product that most consumers would want to take with them on the road but doesn't Apple have that covered already? Are the iPhone and the Touch not meant to meet that need? If you already have one of the new devices with the four-inch screen, you're not likely to bring along the iPad Mini as well. Why would you?
What Apple should be worried about are consumers who buy the Mini because of price yet expect it to provide as enjoyable an experience as the standard iPad. When that product disappoints, it will be seen as a disappointing effort on Apple's part, not a consumer making a bad choice. Even though some seem to think that Apple is capable of ignoring raw physics, the simple truth is that a much smaller iPad would simply not produce the same user experience. This is simply unavoidable.
It's quite different when you deal with a diminished experience on a truly portable device like the new iPhone and the new Touch. You want the portability those devices offer and you know you're going to make some sacrifice to gain that portability. Yet the iPad Mini would in practice prove to be no more portable than the standard iPad. What's the point?
Of course, as I have already stated, it does seem that the iPad Mini is a done deal, what with all the reports insisting it's about to be announced. So that's that, I suppose. Yet it's not 100 per cent confirmed until the event invitations go out.
Seems to me that what is expected to be announced is an iPad Mini priced identically to the new Touch. Seems highly suspect, to me. If it had been doable, the Touch would have come in at a lower price point. When I saw the starting price of the Touch come in at $299, it seemed to me rumors of an iPad Mini had been greatly exaggerated. Not sure what to think at this time.