Apple preps shoppers for Black Friday

Apple will join the countless number of retailers looking to score some cash on Black Friday.

The company on Tuesday sent out e-mails and published a page on its site teasing its Black Friday "shopping event." Apple didn't say what kind of deals it plans to offer customers.

If history is to be our guide, Apple's Black Friday event should offer discounted pricing on everything from Macs to iPads. The company's discounts usually aren't major, with Apple typically sticking to around $101 off Macs and $41 to $61 off iPads.

As in previous years, … Read more

Cyber Monday is poised to break online shopping records

With Cyber Monday just one week away, US shoppers are gearing up for some of the year's biggest online deal days. And this year, online retailers are poised to see a lot of money thrown around.

According to market research company Forrester, a record $78.7 billion will be spent in U.S. online shopping this holiday season. This is 15 percent more than what was spent in 2012.

The researcher forecasts that 167 million shoppers will take to the Web to buy presents, gadgets, and goods. Each person is estimated to spend an average of $472 for the … Read more

Google's sponsored products could cost you more money

Do you pay more for sponsored products that pop up in a Google search?

That's the contention of the Financial Times, which recently ran an analysis of various products that show up among Google search results. Five out of every six items that appeared in the sponsored items section were more expensive than those those hidden deeper in the results, according to the newspaper. And on average, the sponsored products were 34 percent higher.

The study focused on Google's US site. A total of 25 product types were picked at random, including electronic devices, household items, and toys. … Read more

Amazon: Who says Black Friday can't start early?

Black Friday is still several days away, but that hasn't stopped Amazon from offering early deals.

Amazon's site is now listing Black Friday deals as part of the company's "Black Friday Deals Week." Similar to its offers in the past, Amazon is selling electronics, toys, books, and other products at reduced prices until the "limited supply" dries up of a particular item.

As of this writing, one deal of the day is a Samsung Galaxy S3 for $260 off contract. Sales are available in a number of categories, Amazon said that new items … Read more

Tablets dwarf other holiday tech gifts in CNET survey

A whopping 40 percent of tech shoppers will buy tablets this holiday season according to CNET's survey of 1,182 readers. That's nearly twice as many tablets as any other device, with 23 percent shopping for phones, 20 percent for computers, and 17 percent for headphones. Even more readers -- 42 percent -- want to receive a tablet.

The average CNET survey respondent plans to spend nearly $700 on gifts for nine family and friends this year, in line with the national average (according to Wells Fargo). Tech-focused shoppers, however, plan to spend at least 50 percent of … Read more

Amazon lets users give Prime memberships as gifts

Amazon will now let customers buy a one-year subscription to its Prime program as a gift, the company announced Friday, just before the shopping frenzy of Thanksgiving week.

The Prime membership costs $79 a year and includes free two-day shipping for more than 15 million items, according to Amazon. It also covers the streaming of select videos from Prime Instant Videos and access to the Kindle Owner's Lending Library and the new Kindle First program, which lets members read select books from Amazon Publishing before they're published.

After a customer purchases the membership, Amazon will send an e-mail … Read more

How to find the best price on the e-book you want

Suppose someone recommends a book, like I'm about to do. "Oh, hey, you gotta read Mitchell Zuckoff's 'Frozen in Time.' Total page-turner. Couldn't put it down."

Because you're a smart shopper, you know that different e-book sellers often have different prices. But short of going from one Web site to another (or, if you're a smartphone or tablet user, one app to another), how can you find the best deal on that particular title?

Actually, all you need to do is visit one site. Here's the easy way to score the lowest … Read more

Black Friday 2013: The thrill is gone -- but the deals are back?

Because I'm The Cheapskate, this is the time of year when people nudge me and say, "Bet you're getting pretty excited about Black Friday, huh?"

Well, of course! The day after Thanksgiving! The day when stores, both brick-and-mortar and click-and-order, serve up the very best deals of the year, slashing prices so low you'll be willing to freeze your butt off in an overnight line like you were waiting for Kanye tickets.

Yep, pretty excited. Except, nope, not excited. Black Friday is no longer the mysterious, exciting, deal-chasing fun-fest it once was. It's been … Read more

Shutdown, Obamacare driving holiday shopping online?

Politics has become tiresome.

Alright, it was always tiresome, but when 24-hour cable news came along, we got to hear of every little detail and reached for extra doses of our calming medicine.

It seems, though, that one of the consequences of constant political upheaval has been to drive more people to shop online this holiday season.

A survey has been placed before my exclusive eyes. It was performed by Harris Interactive, on behalf of cloud testing company SOASTA (pronounced like "toaster", sadly, rather than like "Zoroaster").

In it, a fulsome 44 percent of people insisted … Read more

10 must-see videos of the week

In this week's must-see rundown, we offer up an in-depth look at all of the new features in Google's latest mobile OS, Android KitKat. If you're one of the lucky users to already have it, you'll also want to check out our very handy tips for extending your phone's battery on KitKat.

Twitter officially went public earlier this week. In our latest Inside Scoop, CNET's Kara Tsuboi and senior writer Daniel Terdiman discuss the social media giant's initial public offering, what they learned from Facebook, and how they plan to turn a profit. … Read more