TL;DR: The ride-sharing portion of Uber's business model took a bit of a hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, but that hasn't stopped the company from coming up with new ways to draw in customers. This week, Uber is rolling out "Uber Reserve," a mobile app feature that will let users book a ride up to 30 days in advance.
On the surface, this might not seem like a very big deal; and for the average user, perhaps it isn't. However, if you're planning out a country-spanning trip on a tight schedule, or if you simply must be in a certain place at a certain time, Uber Reserve could be a great solution to that problem.
Typically, when you order an Uber ride, you have to wait for a driver to show up. Usually, this process won't take very long, but sometimes, even waiting 20 minutes might be too much -- that's enough time to be late to a meeting or appointment at best, or even miss a bus or train ride at worst.
Reserve also takes that guesswork out of trip planning. You'll be told exactly how much you'll need to pay for the trip far in advance, and you can even select a "Favorite" driver to ferry you to your destination. Furthermore, if your driver fails to show up at the scheduled time, you get a free $50 in "Uber Cash" as compensation.
As usual, you can also select some of your trip preferences, such as the vehicle's temperature, the amount of conversation you want to put up with, and the number of bags you're carrying. Your driver will be informed of these details ahead of time so they can plan appropriately (if they wish -- they're under no binding obligation to avoid speaking, for example).
Uber Reserve won't be available everywhere right away, but the company is piloting the feature in 20 initial cities, including major destinations like New York City, New Jersey, Houston, Austin, Chicago, and Phoenix. On launch, Uber Reserve only supports Uber Black and Black SUV rides, but Uber X and XL will arrive at a later date.