I was talking to my neighbour about his new garmin smart watch and it just sounded like a poor version of what I imagine an Apple Watch is.
With an Apple Watch can you…
Take it out running without your phone and still use.
Nike running app
Full use of Spotify
Complete n00b question here.
Plenty of Garmins allow full use of Spotify. Not sure why you'd want to use Strava or Nike running app on a Garmin when the native Garmin o/s provides a far greater depth of data and functionality. There are some Strava apps you can get for Garmin, such as Relative Effort, if that's your thing. Garmin and Strava accounts connect, so any activity on your Garmin gets automatically loaded to Strava (albeit with a shedload of data missing that Strava can't handle / doesn't use).
Garmins, such as Fenix or FR range, are designed solely for sports / multi-sports. They use ANT+, allowing you to connect multiple devices at once - heart rate monitor, power meter, foot pod, Varia light etc - while connecting your headphones via bluetooth. Apple watch allows 2 bt connections max - heart rate monitor and headphones, or heart rate monitor and power meter.
The biggest one is a Garmin will easily last a week, worn 24/7, with 60-90 mins of GPS activity per day. Some, such as Fenix or higher end FRs, will handle an iron distance tri or 24 ultra marathon on a single charge. This won't be applicable to most casual users but is essential for some.
Apple watches are great, they're a swiss army knife of a smartwatch that can be used for sports, and are more than enough for most people. Think a lot of people now see top end Garmins and buy them purely because they're expensive rather than wanting to use all the available functions.