Comment from Ernest Doku, uSwitch.com

Despite Steve Jobs' protestations that a 9.8-inch display was the tablet sweet spot, a smaller and more affordable alternative has been proven with the high-end Kindles.

This launch proves Apple isn't afraid to change its mind in its ultimate pursuit to take a bigger bite out of the tablet market.

For the iPad mini, the Google Nexus 7 — which Phil Schiller compared side by side during the launch — and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD are the major competition in this newly-formed mid-size tablet space. Many think the iPad mini might affect the popularity of the iPod touch but, in reality, it's an entirely different device.

Size wise, the iPad mini is right in between the original iPad and the iPhone 5's 4-inch display, and could have been another size for app developers to worry about. But the fragmentation people were scared of has been put to bed, as all the apps made for the iPad work seamlessly on the mini.

A killer price point would certainly have put the cat amongst the pigeons in the tablet space. Initially rumoured to be around the £200 mark, it turns out people will have to pay £269 for the cheapest version of the iPad mini. Will they pay it? Given the plus points of a burgeoning App Store and intuitive and now familiar interface, all wrapped up in a novel form factor, I think so.

The iPad mini is definitely a tablet on the attack, and it could clean up as the gift to get in the run-up to Christmas.

Apple detractors may say that the iPad mini is the latest in a long line of reactionary rather than revolutionary products in the post-Jobs era, which is why we've now got a longer phone and a smaller tablet. While these tactics are arguably not akin to the Apple of old, this move will allow the tech giant to go toe-to-toe in the lucrative smaller tablet market — with the iPad mini guaranteed to make a mint.