Uber is getting its first proper update in five years. The completely redesigned app will let Uber passengers quickly choose their destination — including shortcuts for regular trips, your calendar appointments, and to meet up with any friends that also use the app. It'll also show you how much you'll pay upfront, and give you a reasonably accurate guess at when you'll get to where you want.
In an announcement of the new app on its global blog, Uber product manager Yuhki Yamashita conceded that new features added since the last refresh in 2012 have made the app "complicated and harder to navigate". The new version, built "completely from the ground up", is centred around getting passengers to input their destination — obviously the most important thing for a transport app to actually know — as quickly as possible.
If you're a regular Uber user, especially for regular work travel or commuting between home and public transport stations, you'll appreciate the new shortcuts that live at the bottom of Uber's main screen. Shortcuts, that learn from your previous regular trips, give you a quick one-tap option to get home or to work or to a place that you travel to.
If you're the kind of person that keeps your life properly organised, the new Uber app will become even more valuable. If you let the app access your contacts and calendar, you'll see your appointments appear as shortcuts, and you'll be able to search for your friends and navigate to them once they've agreed to shared their location. Upfront fare estimates for all Uber's different driver types are presented before you book, so you can see whether a taxi or UberX or UberBLACK is the best choice — if they're all available in your area.
What makes Uber's new app next level, though, is the fact that you'll be able to order UberEATS while you're on a trip, synchronising your arrival home or to the office or your mate's place with the delivery of your piping hot burrito. You'll also be able to coordinate your Uber arrival time with any nearby departures on public transport, but that's not nearly as cool as racing a pizza to your doorstep.
The global rollout of the new app will take "several weeks" across iOS and Android. We're giving it a go over the weekend down at PAX Aus 2016, so we'll let you know our thoughts as soon as possible. [Uber]