iPhone 5 May Move More Medical Devices to Bluetooth

Last week Apple brought the world to a standstill (again) for a few hours when it announced the latest iteration of the iPhone. Some rumors were dispelled with the new phone, others were confirmed. Among the latter was the announcement that Apple is ditching the 30-pin, micro USB connector dock that has been standard in the iPhone for a new, slimmer, and sexier 8-pin dock that has been dubbed the Lightning connector.

Apple promises the Lightning connector will provide a better interface and superior performance for consumers but some have already shot back at the connector, calling it a shortsighted and consumer-unfriendly decision with no obvious benefits.
 
The connector is also potential bad news for the increasing number of FDA-approved medical devices that already rely on the old 30-pin connector in order to interface with the iPhone. Apple is making an adaptor for the Lightning connector that should alleviate the problem, but it's not clear at this point if all devices designed for the 30-pin connector will still work and how manufacturers will look at this going forward.
 
MobiHealthNews suggests that future medical devices for telehealth may elect to cut the cord altogether in favor of Bluetooth Smart technology that will allow devices such as heart monitors to wirelessly connect with the iPhone for patient monitoring. Still, it may be too early for companies to panic. Eweek cites IMS Research in stating by 2016 only nine percent of medical devices will uses any type of wireless technology. Still the Lightning connector brings up interesting issues of vulnerability when it comes to designing telehealth products. Should companies be so apt to build their technology around a device whose specifications can change completely with each new iteration? Perhaps closer communication with Apple could prevent issues like these, but as the telehealth field grows it'll be interesting to see what trends emerge.
 
-Chris Wiltz is the Assistant Editor of MD+DI