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Amazon accidentally reveals new Microsoft 'Surface Mini' to rival Apple's waning iPad

A Microsoft Surface Mini, you say? Rumours are churning regarding the possible introduction of a new competitor to the iPad mini — a logical move for Microsoft, whose 10.6in Surface and Surface 2 tablets already exceed that of Apple's mighty competitor, the 9.7in iPad.

While it would make perfect sense for Microsoft to play in the space where Apple's smaller, 7.9in iPad mini sits, all the talk about a Surface Mini has been little more than that for the past year — talk. Reports as of April of this year pegged the Surface Mini for a second-quarter debut, which isn't the first launch window that's been speculated for the smaller tablet. However, a few new details are emerging to suggest that the rumoured 7- to 8-inch Surface Mini is a bit closer to reality than fiction.

As noted by TechCrunch, Vostrostone posted two Surface Mini accessories on Amazon. The first is a simple "ultra-thin Smart Cover case" for the "Surface Mini, black." Read into that what you will, if you're of the notion that Microsoft would dare to release a miniature version of its Surface tablets in different colour schemes.

Vostrostone also has a "mini-keyboard portfolio case" up for sale which, again, only appears to be sized to fit a "Surface Mini" device.

The other fun details of both products are when they're both expected to go live. Their in-stock date is 18 May, which leads some to speculate that Microsoft will either launch a Surface Mini by then or have one imminently launching around that date. (After all, why sell a cover for a tablet that doesn't exist?)

We should note that the images accompanying each product aren't likely of the Surface Mini. As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley indicates, they're likely just the 8in Lenovo Windows tablet. She, like others, speculate that the Surface Mini has a spring launch window based on the last batch of hubbub that she (and others) heard regarding the availability of Microsoft's to-be-announced device.

That said, TechCrunch says that the dates listed for Vostrostone's products could just be "miscommunication." It's also entirely possible that Vostrostone is trying to capitalise on some quick buzz regarding the Surface Mini: Yes, one is likely coming, so might as well get a tonne of early publicity by beating everyone else to the punch with an accessory or two.