Alongside with Surface Studio, Microsoft also announced the Surface Dial – a tool for creative process. The dial is effectively a wireless knob that can be assigned to different tasks.
The Dial is available for pre-order now at $99.99, and ships November 10, 2016.
The Surface Dial is big puck that’s sort of like a modern twist on a paint palette. When the Dial is placed on the Studio’s screen, a radial menu pops up all around it. Different color or brush options might pop up, for example, when a painting app is on screen — presumably, other apps can create custom menus as well. It can also be used to navigate and pan around an image.
Though Microsoft is demoing the device on the Surface Studio, it’s also supposed to work on the Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, and the Surface Book.
Microsoft did not say whether the Dial works with other Windows 10 devices, meaning it’s a Surface-exclusive.
Surface Dial is a very niche product, and whether the accessory ultimately succeeds or fails will completely depend on whether artists and designers find it useful. It seems nifty, though if you can already use a keyboard, mouse, touchscreen, and pen, adding yet another input seems like overkill. Either way, don’t expect this one to fly off the shelves.