4 Things the New Apple WatchOS 5 Could Use to Beat Garmin

Written by Charlie

The new Apple WatchOS 5 will be revealed today. Here are 4 things that would go a long way to pulling some customers from the Garmin family of GPS watches to the Apple Watch. We will see today if these wish list items made it into the new Apple WatchOS 5!

Today is the Apple WWDC Keynote. It is expected that (as usual), Apple will announce the new MacOS, the new iOS, and the new WatchOS 5. There may be some hardware announcements as well but almost certainly not Apple Watch Series 4 announcement.

4 Things the New Apple WatchOS 5 Could Use to Beat Garmin

But, that is ok because there are some things that the new Apple WatchOS 5 could bring that could be very helpful to runners and other fitness enthusiasts! I still wear a Garmin on my wrist everyday but I have an Apple Watch in waiting (that I use for comparisons anyway) that I will gladly put on and use over the Garmin – if the new Apple WatchOS 5 can bring a few new features to the table.

Here are 4 things that I think the new Apple WatchOS 5 could use to beat Garmin in getting on the wrists of more fitness enthusiasts.

1. Customizable Data Fields

One of the things that the Apple Watch has that is a huge advantage is that there are numerous running apps (and other sport apps) available to download and use on the Apple Watch. This is great if you prefer one system over another (like Strava, MapMyRun, Nike+ Run, and more). Garmin can send the data from your runs to those services but you are only able to use the Garmin interface with Garmin watches.

But, the one thing that Garmin has that Apple is really missing is customizable data fields. I have mentioned this before in my overviews of the Garmin vs Apple Watch posts. I have different screens I use depending on the type of run I am doing. If I am running a race, I like to have these fields on my watch face:

  • Time Elapsed
  • Distance
  • Lap Pace
  • Lap HR

That gives me all the data I really want to have mid-race. If I am doing a workout, I would rather see actual pace and heart rate. If I am just out for a run, sometimes I would like to see temperature or elevation (to help me pull back a bit if I might not otherwise) and I usually use the time of day.

The Apple Watch fitness app and other apps do have some nice information available – but it is not really customizable. You cannot choose the kind of data that you have on Garmin and I would never switch from Garmin to Apple Watch full time without having that kind of customization.

I realize that the app makers could update their apps for that but I am curious if Apple may limit it through their use of complications or something like that? So, I will direct my plea at Apple – please give us customizable data fields!

2. Sleep Tracking

apple watch garmin

The sleep data from Garmin watches – yeah, I know I need to sleep more!

The original reason Apple did not include a native sleep tracking app on the original Apple Watch was due to battery life. Apple wanted users to charge their Apple Watch devices at night.

apple watch garmin

This is the movement data from the Garmin sleep tracking

But, that has changed now. The Apple Watch Series 3 finally has some more impressive battery life – approaching even close to the battery life of some Garmin devices for various activities. It is time to for Apple to release a sleep tracking feature. I didn’t realize how helpful that was for me until I had it on my Garmin devices. Garmin’s sleep tracking is very good!

Apple, please give us native sleep tracking!

3. Always On Watch

apple watch garmin

The Garmin GPS watches are always-on displays

This is another one that was not an option due to battery life – initially. But, again, Apple has improved on battery life and it is almost a guarantee that the Apple Watch Series 4 (or whatever they call it) will have even better battery life.

Not only that, but Apple can improve the battery life with their OS updates that bring better power management to the watch. So, having an always on watch display is definitely within reach.

I can’t tell you the amount of times during the day that I will just glance down at my Garmin watch to see the time or other pertinent information. I do this without moving my arm. With the Apple Watch, I would need to raise my arm or give a good flick of the wrist or touch the screen to see that info. That is not horrible at all but it is one more thing that keeps the Garmin on my wrist.

If Apple would have the Apple WatchOS 5 with an option to have an always-on display, I think that could be a big deal to many Garmin users!

4. Support for Android

I realize that Apple likes to keep their system very closed and connected to their own devices and software. However, with something like the Apple Watch, they are losing customers that love the idea and look of the Apple Watch but they use an Android phone.

While I like my iPhone, I actually like my Google Pixel 2 much more! The only reason I keep an iPhone is because of iMessage and Facetime since all of our family members have Apple devices (and we don’t want to move everyone to something like WhatsApp just for me!). I know there are many others like me.

If Apple would release Apple WatchOS 5 with the capability to support and interact with Android devices, it would open up a whole new bank of customers and prove a great competitor to Garmin. Garmin watches work with both Android and Apple devices so Garmin has the Android market pretty well covered.

It obviously wouldn’t have to cover all the apps (and it wouldn’t) but it could do like Garmin and other 3rd party smart devices and give notifications. Other than that, it could use the standalone apps when connected to WiFi.

I know, I should have made this a bonus one as it is not like right now but I thought I would throw it in here! 🙂


Will we see any of these in the new WatchOS 5 release? My guess (and from what I have heard) is that the Always On watch part may be there. I’m not sure about the others. We will find out today at 10:00AM PT – just a little over an hour from now!

No matter what is released, the public release of Apple WatchOS 5 will not be out until September. There will be some public betas released before that (probably end of the month) and I will be eagerly looking forward to trying those out. Just be careful about upgrading to a beta as some early betas can have battery issues and if you use your Apple Watch everyday, you may find it sucking more power than normal and not being as useful.

What would you like to see in the new Apple WatchOS 5? Is there anything that would draw you away from Garmin?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

1 Comment

  • I bought an Apple watch series 3 last week thinking that I could sync it with my hearing aides just like I did with my iphone 8. With my iphone phone calls go right into my hearing aides but with the Iwatch I can’t get it to happen even though it is listed as compatible. Can someone help me?