If you're a car-free urbanite you've probably seen mention of Zipcar, or noticed one of their branded vehicles out and about. The company offers hourly rental automobiles with a rapid-deployment twist: there's no check-in or checkout process beyond reserving the time online and then swiping your membership card to unlock the car. The vehicles even include gas cards so you can fill up for free while you're on the road. Members are mostly enthusiastic about the convenience and ease of the service; soon, of course, there'll be an app for that.
Zipcar's newsletter and website have announced that the company's iPhone app will be coming soon, and the landing page offers an email signup to be notified when it ships. The promised feature set is a bit lean at the moment, but intriguing: find and reserve cars from the phone, plus the ability to unlock or lock the car from the app. Since the current Zipcar membership cards use RFID chips for the lock sensor, it's not quite clear how the app will accomplish the same trick -- GPS geolocation combined with a secure server connection? Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to the car's sensor? Can't wait to find out.