As part of its event yesterday, Microsoft revealed the wireless Surface Dial, a control wheel that attaches directly to the Surface Studio's screen, letting artists select colors and do other chores. While the $100 device is compatible with the any Windows 10 PC, including Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, the company originally said the on-screen functions would only work on the Surface Studio. However, VP Terry Myerson told the Verge that you'll be able to use it directly on the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book displays early next year thanks to a firmware update.
The Surface Dial lets you flip through documents, change your screen brightness, and "rewind" your work back to an earlier version, to name a few functions. When you place it on the screen, it brings up a contextual radial menu so that you can select colors and do other chores with one hand, and sketch using a Surface Pen with the other. Thanks to haptic feedback, it gives the clicky feeling of a real dial.
The wheel seems better suited to the large 28-inch screen on the $2,999 Surface Studio, as it will take up a big chunk of space when you lay it on a Surface tablet. Some artists may find it handy for sketching on the go, though, particularly with the new high-horsepower Surface Book i7. As mentioned, we don't have a precise date for the firmware, other than early 2017.