The iPad Mini seems like the iPad Apple didn't want to build. It is pointedly missing from rumours around what Apple will deliver over the next few months. It likely only exists because Samsung conned everyone with some dubious sales numbers for the original 7" Galaxy Tab.
Nevermind the massive sales boost the iPad Mini brought to Apple's tablet sales, nor that it manages to deliver all the best of an iPad in something you're much more likely to carry. No, despite all that, Apple has continually neglected its 8" device. Updates have been slow in coming and meagre when they arrive.
So what could Apple do with the iPad Mini to boost its relevance? It may be as simple as adding voice capability to the LTE model. We've heard how smartphones are the only computer people in emerging economies get access to. Why not flip that and make the iPad Mini 'computer' the only smartphone they need?
Don't think you'd use one as a phone? That's probably going to be less of an issue as new Bluetooth headset solutions appear on the market. I can tell you growth markets like China already gobble up 7" Android tablets to use as large mobile phones. An iPad competitor would steal the high-end of this market.
Personally nothing I've seen of the rumoured iPad triplets, due this year, has suggested they'll be hard to resist. Yet the prospect of an 8" LTE iPad Pro, with a pencil better suited to note-taking and the ability to handle voice calls, would certainly get my wallet twitching. There's no comparable Windows or Android tablet to steal its thunder either.
For now it's questionable whether the Mini will get any update at all. So pipe dreams will probably have to remain just pipe dreams.