We now know definitively that the Surface Mini was real.

“It was like a Moleskine. It was awesome,” Microsoft’s excitable Panos Panay told Wired today in a story on the Surface Book convertible laptop, which is now available for sale.

The thing is, the Surface Mini — which could have competed with Apple’s iPad Mini — will most likely never see the light of day.

The device was “a small tablet his [Panos’] team built but never shipped,” Wired‘s David Pierce wrote.

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Rewind to April 2014. That’s when there were listings on Amazon for Surface Mini accessories from the Chinese electronics store Vostrostone. It was the best evidence yet of the existence of a Surface Mini.

But on May 20, 2014, when Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 3, there was not a single mention of a Surface Mini. It was as if the gadget had never existed.

Shortly after that, however, close readers of the Surface Pro 3 user manual noticed several references to the Surface Mini that Microsoft apparently had failed to scrub.

And in July 2014, the leaker @evleaks wrote that the “Surface Mini is back in production, in anticipation of a summer release.”

That leak has proven wrong. But at least we know for sure now that the Surface was a real, working device. It just never got released.

Why not? Our May 2014 post “Why there’s no Surface Mini” has some clues.