Apple Watch 7: What happened to all the upgrades we were promised?

Apple Watch 7
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Watch 7 is not the smartwatch we've been waiting for, and that's entirely the fault of false leaks and rumors leading up to the latest Apple event

Perhaps if we better tempered expectations set by seemingly-reliable leaks, the Apple Watch 7 announcement wouldn't come as much of a disappointment. Many tech fans, as well as I, awaited a revolutionary redesign and a long-desired battery life improvement. Instead we got thinner bezels.

As if to rub in the wrongness of "flat-edged" Apple Watch claims, Tim Cook stood on the virtual keynote stage and called the newest smartwatch curvier than ever before. Jon Prosser and Mark Gurman are the two tipsters who might be feeling called out.

For those of you unfamiliar with Prosser and Gurman, you should know they have rather prolific records with Apple leaks. Neither get it right all the time — no leaker does — but as far as AppleTrack's accuracy ratings go, they're among the most reliable, non-anonymous sources for spreading unofficial Apple intel.

Both also do a pretty good job at their own reports. Prosser, for example, let us know the flat-edged Apple Watch renders shared earlier this year could be for a different future Apple Watch. Gurman regularly cites leaks as claimed by inside sources, not stating leaks as sure facts.

But the two tipsters, along with many tech reporters like myself, probably took the Apple Watch 7 rumors too sincerely. Perhaps it was the boring Apple Watch 7 leaks that escalated excitement. Or it could have been higher-ups in the company spreading false intel in an effort to flag internal leakers. But please, let's not dwell on my curiosity with conspiracy theories.

Rather, let me take my share of the blame for perpetuating any now known-to-be-false Apple Watch 7 rumors. Based on my familiarity with the Apple Watch family, certain upgrades just seemed destined to materialize. I didn't recommend taking reported information with enough skepticism. 

And let's not call the Apple Watch 7 a letdown, okay? Chances are, it'll be the best smartwatch yet. The narrowed display borders look fantastic, making the Apple Watch look bigger without rendering a whole collection of Apple Watch bands useless. While it's well past time the battery life lasted more than 18 hours, faster charging should also be welcome. 

Last year, when I swapped out the Apple Watch 5 for the Apple Watch 6, the changes didn't feel as incremental as they sounded on press releases. That was without any sort of aesthetic changes. Preloaded with watchOS 8, there's no reason the thin-bezeled Apple Watch 7, with a 20% larger display compared to the Apple Watch 6, can't come as a revelation to existing users. Especially those who haven't been slurping up Apple Watch 7 leaks as fast as they've been spat out the past few weeks.

As much as I enjoy following and analyzing Apple Watch rumors, it would've been nice to look at the new smartwatch from a perspective of pure surprise. At least next time I'll remember to temper my expectations, because while we didn't get the upgrades we were told would happen, Apple never promised them in the first place.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.