Apple and Samsung smartwatches need more buttons if they want more athletes

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is meant to appeal to serious outdoors athletes, but relies on a touchscreen. | Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

Earlier this week, Samsung announced the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. It’s Samsung’s most durable smartwatch ever and at Unpacked it was clear that the company intends the watch to appeal to outdoor athletes. Apple also revealed at WWDC that watchOS 9 will feature a ton of new running metrics, adding fuel to rumors that a rugged Apple Watch may be on the way. It’s clear that both companies are looking to lure in users from the Garmin and Polar crowd — but aside from battery life and durability, there’s another obstacle that could derail these efforts. Touchscreens.

For better or worse, Apple and Samsung have relied on touchscreen navigation on their smartwatches. That’s fine for casual exercise, or for the average person who isn’t traversing all…

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