However, perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of Microsoft’s hardware keynote was the reveal of the Surface Dial, which is a hockey puck-esque accessory that can be used in conjunction with the Surface Studio (and other Surface hardware) as an alternative form of input. We were given a brief glimpse of what Surface Dial can do in the intro video for Surface Studio, but Microsoft is now opening the floodgates with five product demonstration videos that focus solely on this $99 input marvel.
With the Sketchable app, the Surface Dial can be used to precisely rotate a canvas, making it easier for an artist get the perfect angle when looking to put the finishing touches on a piece. Rotating and clicking with the Surface Dial can also bring up submenus that allow you to change your ink color and brush strokes.
Moving on, Drawboard is an app that is tailored for architects, and Surface Dial support enables them to work easily with both hands. “The minute you put that device on the screen, something is going to light up,” said Laith Alasa’d, Head of Development for Drawboard.
“You have the protractor tool appear right away — it’s your default. The pen tools have already been preselected. As they start drawing, they’re just going to feel it. That’s the kind of experience I want them to have; I don’t really want to tell them what to do. I just want them to play around and discover it as they go and hopefully have that wow effect as well.”
Microsoft has also posted videos that show Surface Dial in action with Bluebeam, Mental Canvas, and StaffPad, which you can view below: