Fitness Gear

Why Garmin Should Make an Apple Watch App

apple watch series 4 vs garmin
Written by Charlie

Here are some reasons why there should be a Garmin Apple Watch app – and both could actually help Garmin! Plus, it would be great for the people that absolutely love the Garmin data but are now Apple Watch users.

If you are a die-hard Garmin fan, you are probably yelling “NOOOOOO” right now to the thought of a Garmin Apple Watch app. 🙂 But, the truth is that this could be a good move for Garmin!

Why Garmin Should Make an Apple Watch App

Garmin vs Apple Watch – A Big Question!

apple watch series 3 garmin

I have written quite a bit about Garmin and the Apple Watch, in fact, I have been doing comparisons and posts since the first Apple Watch was revealed (and these have been some of the most popular and searched for posts on this site!). There is no question that many runners are wondering if the Apple Watch could replace their Garmin watch (and this from an ardent Garmin fan).

It is not an easy question to answer for many! I have had so many comments and e-mails over the years that are in the flavor of “Garmin watches are for serious runners – the Apple Watch is not a serious runner’s watch.” The funny part is that, while I see what they are saying, many elite runners wear only a Timex watch with no GPS. Does that mean they are not a serious runner? 🙂

Apple Watch Getting More Fit and Garmin Watches Getting More Smart

I have a post coming soon but I have actually moved from Garmin to Apple Watch for the first time – ever! In the previous Apple Watch models, they just did not do enough to pull me away from a Garmin watch. There has been a Garmin watch on my wrist everyday since the Garmin Forerunner 405.

Garmin has consistently gotten better at making a great running watch also work as an everyday watch, along with smart notifications.

apple watch series 4 garmin

The display on the Apple Watch Series 4 is fantastic!

Now with models like the Vivoactive 3 Music, the Fenix 5 Plus series, and the Forerunner 645 Music, we even have Garmin watches with music onboard (and Spotify) as well as things like Garmin Pay for payments on the go and the legendary Garmin battery life. Garmin is even entering the realm of connected watches with the new Garmin Vivoactive 3 LTE watch. The question of “Garmin vs Apple Watch” is a bigger one now than it has ever been before!

But, the Apple Watch Series 4 has taken some big steps in being a more serious watch for runners as well! So, while Garmin has been making their watches “smarter”, Apple has been making their watches “fitter!” 🙂

Why There Should Be a Garmin Apple Watch App

So, why in the world do I think there should be a Garmin Apple Watch app? Isn’t that ruining things for Garmin?

Garmin apple watch app

The Garmin data options are so much better than Apple’s own options!

Here is what I think – Garmin could make such an app and charge $10 – $20 for it and they would (potentially) be in an even better position than they are now. Why? Because there are many runners (like me) that have come to the Apple Watch from a Garmin and we really, really miss the Garmin setup.

You know, all the customizable data screens that can show things like average lap pace (why, oh why, Apple can’t you do this???!!).

Yes, Apple introduced “rolling mile” for their workout app and that is something I like but it is not great for speed workouts. (also, yes, I am aware of the many other apps that do have other features but not like Garmin!).

Make Money On Those That Switched From Garmin

The people that switched from Garmin to the Apple Watch have been willing to give up what they like about the Garmin watches for the increased smart capabilities of the Apple Watch. With Garmin making an Apple Watch app and charging $15 for it, they will still be able to get money from those runners that left Garmin.

Make Money On Those That Want to Try Garmin – And Maybe Bring Them Over

Then there are the people that have never used a Garmin and really like their Apple Watch. Letting them buy a Garmin Apple Watch app would give them the chance to see what Garmin offers in terms of data. It could also help them make the trip to the Garmin side if they are really interested in some of the more sport-centric things about Garmin devices.

Garmin’s Real Strength Is In Their Devices, Not The Software

The Garmin app store is really not something to switch to Garmin for! There isn’t a whole lot there and many of the things that are there are somewhat rudimentary in their operation when compared to the same app on Apple Watches.

The Garmin watches are awesome and popular because of the device themselves. They have:

  • Garmin Vivoactive 3 which is the cheapest, lifestyle GPS watch Garmin sells (that is still great for running and also for everyday use with smart notifications) – $269 retail
  • Garmin Forerunner 645 which is their mainstream running watch that provides advanced metrics (and has a Music model for $50 more) – $399 retail
  • Garmin Fenix 5 Plus series has 3 different models that give varying screen sizes but also built-in maps, long battery life, and bevy of features for all fitness/adventure buffs – $699 retail and up

If you love Garmin, you probably love it for what the device is and also the UI that gives athletes the information they want on their screen at anytime. Garmin could sell that as an app for the Apple Watch and still be able to make money from the people that love the Garmin data but would rather have an Apple Watch.


I honestly don’t believe that Garmin would lose customers if they offered a Garmin Apple Watch app. Instead, it would be a nice way to make some money off of the people that have moved from Garmin (who are all Apple iPhone owners anyway, the non-iPhone users would still be squarely in the Garmin camp).

It would also be a nice way to introduce what is possible to Apple Watch users with the Garmin metrics and data screens. If they ever are looking for a more serious watch for adventure and outdoors, they would likely look at Garmin first.

What do you think? Do you think it would be a good move to have a Garmin Apple Watch app?

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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.


  • I am about to leave my Garmin Forerunner 735XT and buy an Apple Watch. I would love it if Garmin had an app for my new watch.
    My Garmin does more than the Forerunner 405 I started with, but it cannot compete with the Apple Watch functions.
    Please Gamin, give your athletes their app so they can continue trading as they have over the years.

  • THANK YOU!!! I just got an Apple Watch in March, and while I love it as a regular smart watch, I still get a lot of confused questions when I say that I still run with my Garmin forerunner 35. That customizable data screen is what I love the most about the Garmin Watches and can’t seem to part with. The fact that my relatively basic forerunner 35 beats out my Apple Watch says a lot. So glad someone else understands what I’m talking about.