And this is true of hybrid tablets that fall in between full-sized tablets with screens around 10-inches big and smartphones with 4- to 5-inch screen. The problem isn't so much the hardware, but the content that people want to consume on the device.
Take web sites as an example. Web designers learned a long time ago that websites designed for desktop PCs don't work well on smartphones, and created pages specifically suited for display on smaller screens and controlled by a finger. Tablets, on the other hand, are just about big enough to properly display the full-sized site aimed at desktop users. It's not always perfect, but most of the time it works.
Where does this leave the hybrid tablets? Will full-sized web pages be squashed down to fit the smaller screen, or will users of these devices have to make do with the sites designed for smartphones? In my experience with 7-inch tablets, neither solution is ideal. Both are a compromise.
Moreover, it's not just websites. This problem extends to almost all visual content consumed on mobile devices, from ebooks to apps. And there's no sign of the problem going away any time soon.
There's another problem, and it has nothing to do with the size of the iPad Mini and everything to do with price -- but not of the iPad, but of the iPod touch, Apple's iPhone without a phone.
Apple has decided to price the new iPod touch starting at $299, and no matter how you massage the prices, this doesn't leave much room for the iPad Mini. Would the market support a price of $350 when a full-sized iPad 2 costs $399, and the latest model only another $100?
I have to say that I'm far from convinced, even where Apple fanboys are concerned. Even if they are willing to pay $40 for the new iPhone 5 USB cable.
Right now, until Apple starts sending out press invites to the iPad Mini launch event, I'm putting this piece of hardware in the same category as the Roswell crash, unicorns, and the lost city of Atlantis.