I’ve always been enthralled by the ability of the iPhone to allow you to use location-based apps. I wrote an early entry about Loopt vs Whrll. Since then, there’ve been a series of great apps out using the phone’s capabilities from the start, among them:

  • Loopt
  • Whrll
  • Brightkite
  • Gowalla

I wrote reviews of the above apps while I was writing for AppAdvice.com. You can see those articles about Whrrl, Loopt and Brightkite here.

New to the location-based apps (and there are dozens out there now) are My Town and Foursquare. They both offer a twist beyond the mere “check-in” of others. Each app is a game or competition. I tried Foursquare for a while, but grew really tired of having to manually enter the locations – with complete street addresses required. I’ve been playing with My Town for a few days now, and I like how convenient it is in already having most locations entered for you. (Brightkite is also very strong in this area).

My Town is more of a Monopoly-style game – allowing you to buy properties and charge rent for them, while Foursquare allows you to become “mayor” of certain sites based on how often you frequent them.

Rather than giving you a detailed review of each, you can pick between the excellent reviews comparing these two apps below:

Should you decide to use one of the apps, let me know. If you’ve got another perspective on some of these, I’d love to hear that too. Here are some features that could sway users toward one or the other app if it was implemented:

For Foursquare

  • Improve your check-in system. That one feature alone would gain you users.
  • Make it impossible to “check-in” to a place if you’re not physically present there. In a game of competition, this makes cheating prevalent.

For My Town

  • Add social connections. Like yesterday. The inability to have a friendship base on the app like Gowalla or Foursquare makes your app very lonely. (By the way, forcing folks to use the My Town app on Facebook is NOT social. It’s a pain.)
  • Prevent multiple ownership of sites. This makes the whole game a little pointless.
  • Add the ability to sell sites to specific people. Allow us to name our price – that would add heightened strategy and competition.
  • In addition, you should only be able to collect rent once a day from each site you own.

As you start off this new year, if you’re looking for some fun apps for your iPhone, look no further. Both app creators have promised upgrades right around the corner, so many of these requested features may be present soon.

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