How a company that makes an iPhone-powered glucose monitor made a smart pivot before Apple killed the headphone jack

There was a lot of uncertainty when Apple announced that it was dropping the headphone jack for the iPhone 7

But DarioHealth, an Israeli-based healthcare company that is focusing on improving the lives of diabetics, had to rethink their entire product. 

DarioHealth is a software company that built a glucose-measuring device called Dario, which works with a mobile app. The company claims “tens of thousands of people” use Dario.

Users plug the glucose monitor into their iPhone using the 3.5mm audio jack to get a reading of their blood sugar level. But with Apple killing the headphone jack, DarioHealth knew something needed to be done. 

Erez Raphael, CEO of DarioHealth, said he heard rumours that the headphone jack was on its way out.

“This rumour was already out there before the iPhone 6 was out, and when we hadn’t seen it in the iPhone 6, we decided we were not going to take the chance with iPhone 7,” Raphael told Business Insider in an interview. 

The company started working on a Dario machine that could connect to Apple’s Lightning port, rather than the headphone jack, about a year ago. The product is complete, but the company is still waiting for approval from the FDA, Health Canada and other regulatory bodies for different regions. The iPhone 7 version will sell for about $40.

Raphael compared the Dario machine to FitBit, which sells itself as a lifestyle brand rather than just a pedometer. DarioHealth’s goal is to be a lifestyle brand for people with diabetes, rather than just a glucose monitor. However, unlike FitBit, Raphael insists Bluetooth connectivity is not the way to go.

“For our solution, it was very important that our meter would not be functioning as a standalone, but would be an extension to the smartphone in order to do everything in the smartphone,” he said. 

He claims that having a hard connection, either through the headphone jack or the Lightning port, ensures all of the data gets transferred to the phone, often times at a much faster rate than with Bluetooth.

However, despite DarioHealth’s rush to adapt to the changing iPhone, Raphael is not worried about how this will impact users. Dario will continue to manufacture the device with connectivity to what they think will be the most popular option. They are also working on an option for Android users as well.

DarioHealth claims to have tens of thousands of users now, which they hope will increase with the Android and iPhone 7 versions.  

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