Going back to my original theory, I predict the iPad Mini will jumpstart many more enterprise tablet deployments than the iPad has to date.
Despite my list of impressive iPad tablets, most iPads inside companies today are BYOD devices brought in by workers - as much as 5 out of six tablets inside companies today, according to Strategy Analytics.
At half the price of an iPad - and one-fifth to one-tenth the price of a ruggedized tablet - iPad Minis will be so inexpensive that IT directors won't be able to resist adopting them for field service work.
The smaller size is also a bonus. Traditional mobile devices aimed at enterprise field workers have been closer to 7-inches in size - for a good reason, as Dan Rowinski points out at Read/Write Web:
Take the scenario of the doctor in a hospital. Health care has long been defined by “the chart” attached to a clipboard that hangs off the end of a patient’s bed. That does not necessarily have to be so - tablets could revolutionize the day-to-day practices of doctors everywhere. Yet, what is more convenient for these doctors? A large tablet that can be carried under their arms wherever they go, or a smaller tablet that fits perfectly into the pocket of a lab coat?
CIOs won't care if the screen is smaller or not Retina-enabled. It will be good enough for enterprise apps, while just bad enough to discourage workers from turning it into their primary gaming machine.
A lower-res screen also means requires fewer bits sent and received over the network - key when you're on a 3G data plan. It also means longer battery life - again key for field service, salespeople and other out-of-office workers.
The potential for sluggish performance will come from poor connectivity. So Apple will likely offer at least one 3G-enabled iPad Mini, at perhaps a $50-$100 premium ($299 or $349), or even a 4G LTE-enabled model.
In summary: lower price, better form factor, longer battery life, faster (de facto) networking, less dilly-dallying by workers. For a CIO thinking mobile, what's not to love?