Dear Aunt TUAW,
Would you suggest this generation of the iPad mini is worth getting, or waiting for the next-generation, which may have Retina display is a better option?
Your loving niece,
The best time to buy hardware is when you need it. If you can use the mini now, and feel it's a good value, then go ahead and pick it up. The secret is to make a buy/don't buy decision on the current offerings, not necessarily the iPad minis that may or may not be announced in the future.
In the past few years, Apple has refreshed its iPad line around March/April. Auntie has no indication that they'll do so again this year -- especially after adding new hardware this Autumn -- or that they will not. It's likely that Retina displays will continue to appear across Apple's line, but the current budget-priced iPad mini has not received one.
That the iPad 2 continues as a strong seller in the tablet arena shows that people want an iPad more than they want a Retina display. Several of Auntie's friends here at the Weblog own minis, and love the portable form factor combined with the iPad experience.
Auntie is waiting for the first set of refurbished iPad minis, which she expects to see somewhere around April. Far from purchasing at the peak, Auntie often waits for better deals on slightly outdated hardware for the best buying value.
If you want Retina, you can always consider purchasing a refurb third-generation full-sized iPad, starting at about $380. You will, however, sacrifice the mini's portability.
Got advice for Stephanie? Add your thoughts to the comments.