3 features the Apple Watch Pro needs to steal from Garmin

Apple Watch 7 on a bed of stones.
(Image credit: Future)

It’s September, and as sure as death and taxes that means an Apple Event is right around the corner. In fact, at the time of publication, the Apple event, christened 'Far Out' is due to kick off in just a few hours time

Alongside the expected reveal of the iPhone 14, along with the Pro variants that have become expected over the last few years, we’re also expected to see the annual refresh of the Apple Watch.

What is different this time around, though, is that it seems Apple is preparing to reveal a new more rugged option for extreme fitness fans that like to run until the sun goes down, or climb mountains.

This Apple Watch Pro would mark a departure from the two size options the company offers for each model already, with reports suggesting a larger display which is tougher than the standard variant. It’s also expected to have a larger chassis, although how much larger is anyone’s guess until it’s finally revealed.

Naturally, this could all change, but Apple can take plenty of inspiration from one of its rivals, Garmin. That’s because Garmin has been working with more rugged fitness trackers for quite some time, and has learned a trick or two.

Here are three features the Apple Watch Pro can steal from Garmin.

1. TracBack

If you’re a fan of running or cycling, even just around the streets you know so well, you’ll know the familiar concern of being so “in the zone” that you head off the beaten path or down a road you don’t know so well. If you do run in new areas, it can also be confusing to know which route you took to get to where you are now.

Garmin’s ‘TracBack’ feature leaves a sort of ‘electronic breadcrumb trail’ that can guide you back the way you came. Rather than sending you “as the crow flies” and expecting you to figure out how to circumnavigate buildings, it’ll remember each road, path, dusty trail and country road you traveled, too.

It’s the kind of thing that could be really handy for more adventurous runners and cyclists that want to cover dozens of kilometers at a time but still find their way back. If 'Far Out' is really a cryptic reference related to Apple's improved satellite systems, returning to the start of your route may be one of the features an Apple Watch with better satellite tracking could take advantage of. 

Garmin Race Day update

(Image credit: Garmin)

2. Power Glass solar charging

If there’s one issue we have with the Apple Watch right now, it’s the battery life. While Fitbit and Huawei’s latest trackers can run for days, the Apple Watch is gasping for a charge within two.

While adding a larger battery may be tricky given the abundance of features already offered by an Apple Watch (make no mistake, it really does offer more functionality than any competitor), there is another way Apple can keep the Apple Watch running – solar charging.

Luckily, Garmin appears to have worked out the kinks, too. On a Garmin watch like the Forerunner 955 Solar that offers ‘Power Glass’, you’ll see an indicator when it’s in the shade, or another when it’s charging through solar energy.

The same thing, snuck onto the Apple Watch face as a complication, or added to the top of the screen as with Focus Modes, could keep the wearable running for as long as you can. 

3.  Route Creator 

Garmin’s trackers can not only track where you’ve been, but also let you plot where you want to go. This can be done from a web app or on your phone, and lets users essentially ‘draw’ on a map and let the rest happen by magic.

It works based on distance and starting direction and liaises with Garmin Connect to find the most popular roads and paths taken by existing Garmin users in your area, which stops you from running through dark alleys or muddy fields – unless you want to.

While Apple Watch can save a route from a prior workout, doing so requires a third-party app like Strava. We’d love to see it become a baked-in watchOS feature in the future, particularly on a fitness-focused watch.

Given how Apple has a history of taking existing ideas and repackaging them with plenty of polish, these three Garmin technologies feel ideal for a smarter, longer-lasting fitness watch.

For more on the Apple Watch Pro, be sure to check out our event live blog where we’ll cover the reveal, specs, and reactions from the tech world.

Lloyd Coombes
Freelancer & Podcaster

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance tech and fitness writer for TechRadar. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as Computer and Gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews, Space.com, and Live Science. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games at Dexerto.