Microsoft Surface Dial evokes comparison to Griffin PowerMate for Mac

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2016
Microsoft has announced the wireless Surface Dial for its tablet and computer line, but a third-party option bringing much of the functionality of it to the Mac has existed for some time -- the Griffin PowerMate.




The original Griffin PowerMate was USB powered and connected, and launched back in the tail-end of the MacOS 9 days in early 2002. Two versions exist now, with the PowerMate USB and PowerMate with Bluetooth connectivity versions being sold in parallel.

Both are customizable jog/shuttle wheels, allowing users to configure application-specific controls by keystroke or command in the companion app. The truly devout can connect up to 127 of the PowerMate USB model to one computer, with each having a custom function.

The PowerMate has been used by Photoshop users for a long time, and sees heavy use in audio and video editing as the bespoke jog wheel to quickly scrub through a selection. The "ground effect" light at the base of the USB model can be used for rudimentary user notifications as well, and can also be customized by the user.




No, the PowerMate won't do some of the things that the new Surface Dial will. It won't be detected automatically when placed on your Mac's screen, and pop up a color wheel like Microsoft promises that its wheel will, but it is also cheaper, and compatible with a wider range of computers, both old and new.

A version of the PowerMate software for the $40 USB version requires a PowerPC and OS X 10.3.9 or newer, with the best version of the driver and companion app compatible with Intel processors, and OS X 10.6 or newer. The $60 Bluetooth version has slightly stiffer hardware requirements, but if you own a Mac made since 2011, you're probably fine.

On the other side of the fence, Windows XP and Windows Vista users have available and reliable software as well. Windows 7,8, and 10 users have an installation path, but report quirks and crashes.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    netroxnetrox Posts: 740member
    It's Dial, not Wheel.
    repressthisSpamSandwichnetmage
  • Reply 2 of 28
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,564member

    The important thing to remember MS has long history of promising great things and failing to deliver on them. I willing to put this product concept in the same bucket.

    This is why I always liked Apple, they never showed up what was not already possible, they delivered exactly what they demo. MS and other show these great ideas and we wait years only to find out they could not make it work as they claim they would.

    williamlondonrepressthisjbdragonpscooter63indyfxcaliDeelronravnorodomwillcropoint
  • Reply 3 of 28
    chabigchabig Posts: 624member
    The surface dial looks neat, but is placing a hardware device on the screen really the right way to interact with the computer? I suspect there are better ways.
    repressthisjbdragonmattinozDeelronbaconstangnetmage
  • Reply 4 of 28
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,017member
    maestro64 said:

    The important thing to remember MS has long history of promising great things and failing to deliver on them. I willing to put this product concept in the same bucket.

    This is why I always liked Apple, they never showed up what was not already possible, they delivered exactly what they demo. MS and other show these great ideas and we wait years only to find out they could not make it work as they claim they would.

    And yet this article has nothing to do with an apple product. 

    In fact, I'm not even sure why the article exists.

     "Hey everybody, here's something from years ago which does half of this other thing". Shocker. 
    aylklightknightnetmage
  • Reply 5 of 28
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,116member
    maestro64 said:

    The important thing to remember MS has long history of promising great things and failing to deliver on them. I willing to put this product concept in the same bucket.

    This is why I always liked Apple, they never showed up what was not already possible, they delivered exactly what they demo. MS and other show these great ideas and we wait years only to find out they could not make it work as they claim they would.

    I hate company's announcing things and then don't get released or not as advertised when they are released. Why say something about a product that's not even ready to be sold within a few weeks. Apple dragged a little long with the Apple Watch, but most of the time, when Apple announces a product, it's being sold within a couple weeks.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,116member
    chabig said:
    The surface dial looks neat, but is placing a hardware device on the screen really the right way to interact with the computer? I suspect there are better ways.
    Why would I want to be wasting screen space on this device? It seems dumb. It's also not really a new thing. For example, you can place Real objects onto the Wii U tablet screen and they pop up Digitally. Even that seems pretty silly.
    cali
  • Reply 7 of 28
    Same thought here. Why would you want to set the dial on top of the screen? The screen has multitouch, why can't it just be a virtual control that you can move around arbitrarily in whatever software you're working in? 

    People are calling the MBP OLED Magic Toolbar thingy a gimmick, but it is converting inflexible hardware controls to something way more dynamic and flexible.

    THIS thing is sticking hardware where it would be most likely better served by a dynamic/flexible virtual touch control, in what seems like a tech demo of "look how cool it looks when we get the hardware dial to work with that rotating on screen color palette" when in reality it really might as well be sitting on the desk like the Griffin device (like mine is right now actually).

    Maybe if you have two of them you can play air hockey?
    baconstang
  • Reply 8 of 28
    I saw a similar if not the same puck used on a large table touchscreen on a kiosk at the Detroit Auto Show around 2011. Move it to different positions on the screen and it had different menus and functions. Seems almost identical. No wire and used directly on the screen.
  • Reply 9 of 28
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    I like this better:


    aylkbaconstanglightknight
  • Reply 10 of 28
    sennen said:
    I like this better:


    That's kinda cool/fun looking.
  • Reply 11 of 28
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,460member
    The 2.0 version of the technology will let you make phone calls and send texts just by laying your Windows Phone on your Surface display. Very cool!
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 12 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,814member
    jbdragon said:
    maestro64 said:

    The important thing to remember MS has long history of promising great things and failing to deliver on them. I willing to put this product concept in the same bucket.

    This is why I always liked Apple, they never showed up what was not already possible, they delivered exactly what they demo. MS and other show these great ideas and we wait years only to find out they could not make it work as they claim they would.

    I hate company's announcing things and then don't get released or not as advertised when they are released. Why say something about a product that's not even ready to be sold within a few weeks. Apple dragged a little long with the Apple Watch, but most of the time, when Apple announces a product, it's being sold within a couple weeks.
    Of course Apple announced the Watch before it was ready to go on sale. They did the same thing with the iPhone, iPad, and AirPods, too. Apple is not a startup company. They sell far too many units with far too many vendors and manufacturers involved for them to be able to launch a new physical product category without anyone noticing. It's better to control the announcement.

    I bet tomorrow we'll see several products announced and demoed that aren't immediately available for sale. I'm basing this on the fact that we've seen no HW leaks for the completed product.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 13 of 28
    cpsro said:
    The 2.0 version of the technology will let you make phone calls and send texts just by laying your Windows Phone on your Surface display. Very cool!
    Why would they do that, no one has a Windows Phone.
    baconstang1983
  • Reply 14 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,814member
    cpsro said:
    The 2.0 version of the technology will let you make phone calls and send texts just by laying your Windows Phone on your Surface display. Very cool!
    How would that work? Seems like it would be easier to use Cortana to voice dial or, if yuo want to use the Windows desktop to follow Apple's lead by using the BT connection to the phone so you can dial from your WinPC via the address book.
  • Reply 15 of 28
    sennen said:
    I like this better:


    I'll see that and raise you a Big Mouse...
    icoco3
  • Reply 16 of 28
    19831983 Posts: 1,171member
    I have to admit MS iMac clone seems impressive especially together with the Surface Dial. It's what the iMac might of been today if Apple continued to develop the concept instead of just upping the specs. But there are new iMacs coming out next year...hopefully they'll be a redesign like the new MacBook Pros rather than just a spec bump. The MS design is very expensive though with similar prices to the iMac it seems.
  • Reply 17 of 28
    19831983 Posts: 1,171member
    sog35 said:
    I almost bought this for my arcade to play Forgotten worlds and Tempest
    Tempest was a great game! One of my favorite arcade classics. The vector graphics still look good today.
  • Reply 18 of 28
    19831983 Posts: 1,171member
    Same thought here. Why would you want to set the dial on top of the screen? The screen has multitouch, why can't it just be a virtual control that you can move around arbitrarily in whatever software you're working in? 

    People are calling the MBP OLED Magic Toolbar thingy a gimmick, but it is converting inflexible hardware controls to something way more dynamic and flexible.

    THIS thing is sticking hardware where it would be most likely better served by a dynamic/flexible virtual touch control, in what seems like a tech demo of "look how cool it looks when we get the hardware dial to work with that rotating on screen color palette" when in reality it really might as well be sitting on the desk like the Griffin device (like mine is right now actually).

    Maybe if you have two of them you can play air hockey?
    Hardware with haptic feedback feels a lot nicer to use than a virtual control on a screen. 
    netmage
  • Reply 19 of 28
    Assuming that this sees the light of day... I wonder how many times users will see their dial clatter to their desk when they tilt the display back to vertical (absentminded techies do exist, after all).
  • Reply 20 of 28
    netmagenetmage Posts: 267member
    jbdragon said:
    maestro64 said:

    This is why I always liked Apple, they never showed up what was not already possible, they delivered exactly what they demo. MS and other show these great ideas and we wait years only to find out they could not make it work as they claim they would.

    I hate company's announcing things and then don't get released or not as advertised when they are released. Why say something about a product that's not even ready to be sold within a few weeks. Apple dragged a little long with the Apple Watch, but most of the time, when Apple announces a product, it's being sold within a couple weeks.
    Especially ironic given the recent delay of the AirPods.
    icoco3
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