Microsoft shows off a new $100 input method with the Surface Dial

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Okay, this is cool. Microsoft kind of powered past the Surface Dial in all of the pomp and circumstance around the new Creators Update version of Windows 10 and the Surface Studio all in one, but the new wireless peripheral offers up some interesting new methods for interacting with the company products.

The name and form factor tell you a lot about what you need to know here — the dial is effectively a wireless knob that can be assigned to different tasks. In the on-stage demo at the end of the Studio unveil, the company showed off how it can be used to, say, display and hide handwritten notes on a document.

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The possibilities of such a device, it seems, are endless, though the company just touched on a few of the simpler ones, including the ability to adjust volume and brightness. Once synced to a computer and in use, an analog version of the Dial will show up on the center of the display, which works particularly well with the Studio where you’ve got plenty of screen real estate.

No word on pricing and availability as of yet, but the company announced that the product will be compatible with a number of different Surface devices, including the Surface Pro 3, 4 and the Surface Book, which one assumes means it will be available independently of the Surface Studio — and, hopefully, right around the same time.