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Zipcar has joined Apple to make getting a car as easy as using your phone. The pioneering car-share company has developed an iPhone app you can use to choose, reserve and locate a car on the go - a brilliant move, considering one-quarter of the company’s subscribers have an iPhone in their pocket.

The app tells you what cars are available and uses GPS and Google Maps to direct you to it once you’ve made a reservation. Should the car you’re looking for be lost in a sea of cars in a parking lot, the app will help you find it by sounding the car’s horn. That’s also handy for finding your ride if you’ve forgotten where you’ve parked it.

“These days it’s all about going mobile,” Luke Schneider, Zipcar’s chief technology officer, told Wired.com. “This is the first of several plans we intend to roll out in the coming months that will help make the Zipcar experience readily available to more people and better than it was.”

Zipcar is the largest car-sharing service in the world, with locations in 49 U.S. cities in addition to Vancouver, Toronto and London. The company believes the app, which will be available later this summer, will allow it to expand its service and make car-sharing a breeze.

“There is a synergy between the two brands,” Schneider said. “Both companies aim their products at a highly educated clientele. Before partnering with Apple, we polled a bunch of our customers and found out that about 25 percent of them are iPhone users.”

That number, like the number of Zipcar subscribers, is expected to rise. The new app was announced at the World Wide Developers Conference on Monday, when Apple said it will slash prices on various iPhones and add vehicle-friendly apps like GPS navigation and hands-free dialing. Schnneider says the price cuts and new apps will help Zipcar by making the iPhone available to more people.

“There are currently 15 million people within a block of a Zipcar service station and about 47 million iPhone customers,” he said. “We therefore estimate that our car sharing network could potentially increase to 32 million customers in years to come as a result of our new partnership and expansion into new markets.”
Nick: JirkaPraha, 12.6.2009 13:28:47
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