Black Friday is almost here, and if you're the type who likes to avoid the shopping rush like the plague, I may have the perfect collection of iPad apps for you.
Instead of getting up early and waiting in crowded lines for the doors to open, how about sitting on your couch with an iPad and a cup of coffee, and getting your holiday shopping done in peace? It's true that you probably won't get the super mega deals found by doing the leg work at your local retail outlet, but you'll also run zero risk of being trampled by overexcited shoppers.
While this collection is focused on the iPad (simply because it's easier to see the items you're buying), you could just as easily get any of these apps for smaller iOS devices.
No big-store shopping list would be complete without the online behemoth that is Amazon. Amazon Mobile works on all iOS devices and even acts as an excellent shopping companion if you decide to brave the lines. But on the iPad you get nice big images of items and you can sip your coffee between purchases. Read the full review.
Target for iPad
Have you ever been to Target on Black Friday? Here's my official CNET editor's advice: don't do it! Instead, watch bad daytime TV in pajama bottoms and browse the Target catalog on your iPad. Maybe you could heat up a turkey sandwich from the Thanksgiving festivities with all the fixins while you shop...who's going to stop you? Read the full review.
The online store that got famous for shoes (and fantastic service) is not just for shoes anymore. An extremely intuitive interface lets you drill down through categories--like shoes, clothing, housewares, and more--all with big buttons on a touch-screen interface. Did you just buy your aunt a new coffee maker while sitting at the kitchen table without wearing pants? Don't tell her, but yes you did! Read the full review.
Recently released for iOS, the Wal-Mart app brings the national all-you-can-consume store to your touch screen. This app lets you set your local store as "My Store" (to check inventory) if you need to make a run, but it works just as well as a gift browsing tool from bed. Maybe you should decide on what to get for your uncle before taking a cat nap...or maybe not. This is your day; you decide! Read the full review.
Sears for iPad
Tires, appliances, housewares, shoes, clothes, and just about anything else can be found and purchased with a few swipes of your finger at the Sears store. Are you looking for a new set of Craftsman tools for your significant other? Is it finally time to replace that refrigerator? Sears has a lot more-diverse items than its reputation might indicate, but you still came to the right place. Read the full review.
Nordstrom: The Catalogs
Well, well, well! I didn't know we'd be shopping from the bathtub today, but I'll avert my eyes while you browse through these top-shelf items very carefully so as not to get your iPad wet. You won't get the full Nordstrom inventory here, but you can browse through recent catalogs for the latest items. Don't spend too long looking at that $3,200 watch, though--that leftover pumpkin cheesecake isn't going to eat itself. Read the full review.
Only the big store shopping apps we've actually reviewed made the list, but if you have an alternate to suggest, please leave a comment.