The rumor of a "Surface Mini" has stuck around for over a year, not because of any concrete evidence, but mainly because it seems like the obvious thing for Microsoft to do.
Today new details have emerged in a Neowin report that lacks sources but seems pretty sure of itself.
According to the site, the Surface Mini will be a 7- to 8-inch device that's similar to the existing Surface tablets - which is nothing we didn't already know.
More importantly, Microsoft will reportedly position the Surface Mini as a note-taking device - the "best note-taking tablet" - with proper pen support using something like the Wacom digitizer, said Neowin.
With the Surface 2 launching with Microsoft Office, the Surface Mini is being framed as its note-taking little brother.
Part of this will likely be an increased focus on Microsoft's OneNote, which recently became a free app and could see further improvements or embellishments specific to the Surface Mini.
Early in 2013 we expected to see the Surface Mini before the year was up, but according to Neowin it was a combination of business strategy and supply chain issues (recall that the Surface 2 was out of stock on Microsoft's own site for some time) that delayed it well into 2014.
The bottom line for this report is that the Surface Mini is more or less ready to launch at this stage, and that it will release in 2014, which is basically what we heard in September when Xbox One and Windows updates had reportedly pushed the 7-inch Surface back.