The iPad Mini is finally in the hands of consumers, and the reaction is a resounding hurrah. We're not surprised; it's an incredibly polished product, and many of us here at the Fool already have it on our Christmas lists. But what makes this such a popular device in consumers' eyes? Wasn't it just a short while ago that people were dismissing iPads as "just big iPhones"? How did we go from that, to Apple selling nearly 20 million iPads in their first year alone? And perhaps more important for the company today, will the iPad Mini be as warmly received as its big brother was? In this essential history of the tablet and the iPad's rise to stardom, Motley Fool analyst Eric Bleeker takes a close look at how the world fell in love with the iPad, and why that means big things from here.

Apple has had a blockbuster few months, with the release not only of the iPad Mini, but also the iPhone 5. The introduction of the iPhone 5 was an event Apple investors had been looking forward to for months. The stakes are high and the opportunity is huge, so to help investors understand this epic Apple event, and what we see in store for Apple from here, we've just released an exclusive update dedicated to the iPhone 5 launch. By picking up a copy of our premium research report on Apple, you'll learn everything you need to know about the launch, and receive ongoing guidance as key news hits. Claim your copy today by clicking here now.

The article The Must-Know History of the iPad Mini originally appeared on Fool.com.

Austin Smith owns shares of Apple. Eric Bleeker has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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