I'll start off by saying that I personally don't need to buy an iPad mini for myself (don't tell my wife I admitted to that). I have an iPad 2 and because I use it quite a bit for content creation at work (writing short documents, taking notes and creating diagrams and outlines) I really do need the extra screen real estate of a 9.7" iPad. Speaking of screen real estate, I also use my ipad at work as a 3rd monitor using an app called Air Display (yes, I said 3rd monitor...I know I'm spoiled). Additionally, when I am using my iPad at work I am almost always at a table or desk where I can comfortable sit and work with the iPad propped up on its Smart Cover (so the benefit of being able to hold the iPad in one hand really isn't needed).
So who is the iPad mini really made for then?
For people that use their iPads the vast majority of the time to consume content (books, email, Internet, videos and music) the iPad mini is going to be a HUGE hit. Yes, it has a significantly smaller screen, but I think Apple found the sweet spot in size for this smaller device...big enough to be useful but small enough to be extremely lightweight in the hand and portable. One of the biggest complaints about the size of the 9.7" iPad is when using it to read for a long period of time. The weight of the device starts to wear on you after a while if you aren't propping it up with something. With the iPad mini this will no longer be the case. Now you can comfortably read the news in one hand while having a quick breakfast or drinking a cup of coffee. You can read an iBook on the subway morning commute while standing and still have one hand free to grab the hand-hold. You can walk around the house straightening things up while having a FaceTime chat with your Mom. And last but not least...it is now even easier to toss in your purse, bag or suit pocket and take your iPad everywhere you go without that extra bulk and weight of a full-sized iPad.
Notice I haven't mentioned the price. While the cheaper price will be a factor to some, I think the biggest factor is that the iPad mini is (in Apple's words) "every inch an iPad." The iPad mini's biggest feature is that is has all the same functionality of a full-sized iPad with a brand new feature called enhance portability. If Apple had wanted to make price the main selling point they could have priced it at $299 or even less and still had reasonable profit margins, but they chose to keep the price structure such that the iPad mini fits nicely just below the iPad 2.
So should you buy an iPad mini?
If you don't have an iPad at all right now but have been thinking about it...yes. If you already have an iPad and it is heavily used by multiple people in the family and you would like to have an additional one...yes. Heck, even if you already have an iPad and are the only person using it, but always use it on the go and mostly use it to consume content...sell or hand-down your existing iPad and upgrade to the iPad mini. Yes, I said upgrade. It can be considered an upgrade, even when going from a larger device down to a device with a smaller screen, if you use that smaller device more now because it is that much more portable and comfortable to use on the go.
Those are my thoughts. Who knows, if my wife doesn't read this post maybe I’ll get away with getting me one!