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What if the OLED iPad Pro’s ‘one more thing’ is the Apple Pencil’s obvious AI twist?

Published May 7th, 2024 9:22AM EDT
Apple iPad Pro Display
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Apple will finally unveil its 2024 iPad lineup that so many people have been waiting for. I know I’m excited about one particular model, the 11-inch OLED iPad Pro, though I will wait for Apple’s iPadOS 18 demos at WWDC to decide whether or not I buy one. Others might be eying the 13-inch iPad Pro or one of the two iPad Air 6 variants that Apple is expected to unveil on Tuesday. And many will buy a new iPad as soon as preorders open.

In addition, Apple will unveil new accessories for the iPads, including a new Magic Keyboard for the Pros and a new stylus that appears to be called Apple Pencil Pro.

BGR already told you that a Pro version of the Apple Pencil might be the big surprise at the end of Apple’s iPad event. But that was before Apple dropped a huge teaser on its website. The Apple logo was briefly erasable; you only needed to hover your mouse over it. This was a hint that the next-gen Apple Pencil might get some sort of new gesture to support erasing content across apps. But that’s not the only angle, considering that we’re in the age of generative AI.

An Apple Pencil Pro with erasing capabilities would be the tool to use on the iPad to edit images. And since Apple won’t unveil its genAI software novelties until iPadOS 18, I wonder if Apple might drop a cheeky “one more thing” demo at the end of the event to tease the AI features coming to the iPad Pro this fall.

The Apple Pencil’s new trick

Apple updated its website with a logo on Monday that you could easily erase. Per MacRumors, hovering over the logo with the mouse would let you erase it. Apple used six different logos to cycle through in anticipation of the upcoming Let Loose event.

Let’s remember that Apple’s event announcement focused on the Apple Pencil:

That’s a great trick to change the narrative somewhat ahead of the event. After all, most rumors talked about the OLED panels and the M4 chips coming to the 2024 iPad Pros, not the Apple Pencil.

Back to the erasable logo, the easiest way to interpret it is as a teaser for an erase feature coming to the Apple Pencil. Whether you squeeze the stylus or flip it around like a pencil to erase content on the screen, the feature would definitely come in handy. But my mind goes straight to generative AI.

The “one more thing” teaser

I’m not a fan of altering photos with AI to make them look like something that never happened in real life. That’s taking things too far. I do see value in being able to perform small edits. So what if Apple’s erasable logo is a teaser that generative AI features are coming to the iPad soon?

Not only that, but genAI features like removing objects and people from photos could be triggered by the new Apple Pencil Pro. You’d just have to use the new accessory to perform the task rather than your finger. You’d probably have to buy a new Apple Pencil Pro too, rather than using one you already own.

One of the erasable logos Apple used on its website ahead of the OLED iPad Pro event.
One of the erasable logos Apple used on its website ahead of the OLED iPad Pro event. Image source: Apple Inc.

Then again, Apple can’t unveil the full suite of genAI features coming to the iPad Pro this year. Yet it has to convince people to buy the more expensive iPad Pro before it even unveils iPadOS 18. That’s where the “one more thing” announcement at the end of the reportedly short media event could come in handy, especially if the OLED iPad Pro is getting the M4 chip.

Apple could say that the hardware is here, ready to support the genAI features it’ll unveil next month. It could give us a demo of using generative AI to remove objects and people from photos on the new iPad Pro with the new Apple Pencil Pro. Apple would say the feature will be available after WWDC.

Apple working on genAI photo-editing software

Speculation aside, Apple Insider says that people familiar with Apple’s software development say the company is already testing generative AI for editing images in the Photos app.

The feature is called “Clean Up” in a pre-release version of macOS 15. Apple should bring genAI features to the Mac this year as well. If the information is accurate, I’d expect the same feature to be available in the Photos apps for iPhone and iPad. Therefore, it would make sense to tease it during the event and show buyers how easy it would be to use it with the new Apple Pencil version.

Google demoing Google Photos Magic Editor at I/O 2023.
Google demoing Google Photos Magic Editor at I/O 2023.

Clean Up reportedly lets you change the brush size to remove specific objects from the image. That way, you can move between smaller and larger objects. Removing objects means the AI would have to fill the gaps in the image with content matching the rest of the photos. Such AI-based editing features are already available from different genAI products, including Google’s Android operating system.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.