At its Windows 10 event in New York City today, Microsoft unveiled an accompanying accessory to its Surface Studio. It’s called the Surface Dial, and Microsoft describes the device as “a new tool for the creative process.” The Dial is available for pre-order now at $99.99, and ships November 10, 2016.
This wireless handheld device is aimed at graphics designers accessing frequently used features, including scrolling and swiping through documents and images. You rotate it to control what’s on the screen, and you can also “click” or “tap” it to access different options as you navigate around, especially when you’re working in 3D.
While it’s clearly meant to complement a Surface Pen and be used with the Surface Studio, the Surface Dial works with existing Surface devices as well (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 they probably will but with limited functionality.
For many, this $100 accessory will look like a gimmick. And chances are this is not for you. 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.