Cyber Monday continues the end-of-year holiday buying excitement that kicks off with Black Friday. Since the first Cyber Monday in 2005, online retailers big and small promote the Monday after Thanksgiving as the best time of the year to find great deals online. Black Friday sales began with and still focus on physical stores, with an increasing share of online participants, but for Cyber Monday, the emphasis is on online deals. The retail reality is that physical and online merchants sell whenever people want to spend money. Many merchants look to the last six weeks of each year for the greatest part of their annual sales volume. No store with something to sell will close its doors just because someone says Cyber Monday is for online shopping.
Cyber Monday’s emphasis on online sales bears out historically, at least so far. In 2018, Amazon topped the Cyber Monday overall sales volume charts, according to Numerator, followed by Walmart and Best Buy. Brick and mortar stores don’t close their doors on Cyber Monday, for sure, but tradition holds Cyber Monday is for online deals. You may still enjoy heading out in the cold, dark, early hours to be the first in line and deal with crowds at stores for Black Friday. For Cyber Monday shopping, however, all you have to do is to tell Alexa or Google Assistant to set an alarm to wake you up so you can go online to find the best deals. You can be sure Cyber Monday will bring great deals on computers, TVs, smart home devices, games and gaming machines, and other tech products. For many, Black Friday is the time to shop for everything, but Cyber Monday is the day to focus on electronics. To stay on top of the best Cyber Monday deals amidst all the ads and promotions, come to this page where we’ll continue to keep you informed of all the best deals.
When is Cyber Monday 2019?
Officially Cyber Monday 2019 begins on December 2, as always, the Monday following Thanksgiving. As with Black Friday, Prime Day, Labor Day, and pretty much any major sales event, however, you can expect to see ads, promotions, and pre-sale deals before the sale begins. Many merchants will continue the party for the rest of the week in what’s now known as Cyber Week.
When are the best Cyber Monday deals for 2019?
Online retailers want to be sure you don’t spend all your money during Black Friday, so they’ll make sure you know about special deals reserved for Cyber Monday. Savvy online marketers may roll out campaigns for special daily deals, similar to a workout schedule of leg days, back and chest days, arms days, and abs days. Above all, merchants want you to shop early and often, but you can be assured of the best selections on Cyber Monday, December 2
What are the best Cyber Monday deals?
Recent history of products, sales, and special deals is the most accurate way to predict Cyber Monday 2019 deals. Because of upcoming calendar year model changes, we expect to see loads of head-shaking deals on 4K HDR TVs, especially for 55-inch to 65-inch models, as well as 70-inch TVs. There will also be tempting deals on soundbars, Nintendo Switches, Amazon Echo and Google Nest smart home devices, laptops and tablets, smartwatches including Apple Watches, and iPhones, iPads, noise-canceling headphones, and more entertainment options. You can also bet there will be plenty of deals on Instant Pots, coffee makers, and robot vacuums. Check back as we continue to update the best sales leading up to Cyber Monday. You can also check our deals page for updated deals in all categories:
Tips for shopping on Cyber Monday 2019
As with all substantial seasonal sales events, there will be tons of tempting product deals waiting to be scooped up. These are dangerous days for your bank account, especially if you don’t prepare ahead of time. Here are a few tips and tricks to remember while you browse so you can make the most out of your Cyber Monday shopping.
Not every deal is a good deal:
Don’t assume everything for sale on Cyber Monday is heavily discounted, or even marked down at all from the previous week or month. When a retailer promotes “reduced prices” during big sales events, that doesn’t always mean this is the first time the products have been on sale. There are loads of great deals during Cyber Monday, but not on all products.
Beware of phishing scams:
Whether in real life or online, thieves swarm where people have money they’re excited to spend. In these digital times, it’s way too easy to have your information stolen online. Learn how to avoid phishing scams to protect your credit card information, identity, and personal logins while shopping online.
Have a budget in mind:
When awesome deals come in waves, it’s easy to get carried away. Be careful not to overspend on items that weren’t on your list just because of the discounts. If you start Cyber Monday with a prioritized list with target prices, plus a total budget, you’ll be prepared for shopping success. If you have a long list of smaller items, keep a running tally so you don’t blow your budget on only part of your list.
We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
Prospective smartglass wearers in the U.S. and Canada can now measure up for their North Focal smartglasses by getting virtually measured in North‘s Focals Showroom app, allowing customers across North America access to the future of eyewear, no matter where they live.
Available on Apple’s iOS, the Focals Showroom app uses Apple’s Face ID technology as the basis to measure a person’s face in real time. Using other technology developed by San Francisco-based tech startup Standard Cyborg, the Focals Showroom app is able to take accurate 3D measurements of your face, and allow you to try on various Focals models virtually.
Measurements taken by the app will then be used to create your very own set of North Focal smartglasses, which will be sent to you a few weeks later. Final adjustments to the fit will then also be able to be made by the customer. North Focals are available with both prescription and nonprescription lenses.
Each pair of North’s Focals smartglasses are custom-made, so it used to be that customers would need to physically meet with North representatives in order to be measured for their smartglasses. Unfortunately, the only physical locations capable of doing so were the North Flagship Retail Showrooms in Toronto and Brooklyn. North tackled some of this problem by introducing two mobile Pop-Up Showrooms that have been touring major cities since February 2019 — but with the two mobile showrooms covering an area as large as North America, it was obvious something else would have to be done if the North Focals were to garner widespread appeal.
Whether smartglasses will take off as a popular item is a question that’s yet to be truly answered. North’s Focals are probably the first pair of smartglasses to come close to the smartglass dream — augmented glasses that look like normal glasses. Previous attempts, like the Vuzix Blade or the Google Glass, tended to fall on the wrong side of the fashion line. In short, if they looked like smartglasses, they probably weren’t going to make it in the real world. Unfortunately, no one wants to look like Geordi LaForge. Thankfully,
Will this new app help boost smartglasses into becoming an everyday item? It’s unlikely — but it will make them much available for anyone looking to try them out. If you’re looking to test out North’s new app, then you’ll need an iPhone X or newer.
Almost every day — often several times a day — smartphones across the land will ring, buzz, and vibrate with unwanted phone calls that threaten to make owning these devices, designed for convenience and innovation, a major annoyance. Just like spam email in years past, robocall scams have become the bane of smartphone existence. These days, robocalls account for some 50% of all phone calls.
Robocalls are unsolicited communications comprised of pre-recorded messages from a variety of sources — both national and international. From telemarketers to corrupt scams, these computerized calls connect with your smartphone at all hours. For a vast portion of the 5.3 billion robocalls made in August 2019 alone — nearly 22 spam calls for every person — there exists no redeeming social value.
From bogus calls from the IRS threatening to come after you, to marketers hawking luxurious vacations at fancy resorts, to get rich quick schemes, to calls in Chinese scamming you with God knows what, these calls will attempt to sell you things you don’t want or need, seek to extract information about you that may be used in identity theft, or frighten you out of your wits. These calls, which trade in deceptive caller IDs and spoofing to falsify area code information, are not only disruptive, they are a dangerous waste of time. Robocalls can also come across as actual phone numbers that belong to real people who have no clue that their phone number is being used for this corrupt enterprise.
The FCC takes action
You know it’s out of control when the feds get into the act. While the authorities allow certain types of robocalls — such as notifications of airline flight cancellation, appointment reminders, or local public service messages — the government forbids businesses to call people to promote the sale of products and services.
On June 6, 2019, the FCC unanimously passed a new rule allowing carriers to automatically block non-pre-approved illegal and unwanted calls before they hit your handset. Carriers were already allowed to block suspicious calls — but only if subscribers opted in. Now, carriers can block calls without prior permission. That sounds great except that there’s no guarantee that it won’t cost you. Not only is this service not required to be free, automated calls from legitimate sources like your doctor’s office could also get blocked. Credit card, banking, and healthcare companies are working to ensure that their own permitted auto-generated calls can still get through.
Here are some tips on how to avoid robocalls on your iPhone.
If you use your iPhone less for calling and more for its other smart features, and you don’t have kids, family members, or close friends that habitually call you, it’s easy to simply turn the ringer off and ignore vibrations until the caller leaves a message — if they leave a message. If you see an unfamiliar, unidentified number listed in your Missed Calls, and the caller has not left a message, just delete the call straightaway. Make sure your family and friends know to always leave a message if you do not pick up. Answering a robocall may put your number in line for more interference because it lets the scammers know you will engage with them. That makes it more likely for your number to be passed onto a human caller who may try to extract information from you or trick you into parting with your hard-earned cash.
Silence unknown callers (iOS 13 only)
In its continuing effort to enhance security, Apple added a new feature to iOS 13 called Silence Unknown Callers. This new setting is designed to protect against spam callers and calls from people you don’t know. It’s a simple toggle on or off.
Under the Settings tab, tap Phone.
Toggle to enable the Silence Unknown Callers control.
When the setting is on, the new iOS (which is still in beta) uses Siri intelligence, with its deep learning algorithms, to allow calls from numbers found in your Contacts, Mail, and Messages apps. All other calls automatically go to voicemail. Not only does this feature support the FCC’s new STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) standards, but a checkmark is displayed next to calls in the Recents list when those phone numbers are verified by the carrier. Verified numbers mean the call is not spoofed.
Use special ringtones
You can use your iPhone to associate certain rings with specific phone numbers so you know exactly when friends and family are trying to reach you. You can even have a unique ringtone for each person. Here’s how to do it.
Launch the Phone app and tap Contacts.
Open that person’s contact information and tap Edit.
Tap the ringtone you want to assign to that person to place a checkmark next to it.
Tap Done to return to the contact’s edit screen.
The name of the ringtone is now displayed next to the contact and that is what you hear whenever that person tries to call you.
Block individual phone numbers
It’s easy to block individual numbers on your iPhone. The problem is it may not solve the robocall problem. Scammers are on to the block feature and get around it by using different numbers every time they phone you. It can’t hurt to block a number, but long-term help from that action is likely elusive. Here’s how to do it.
Launch the Phone app.
Go to your Recents tab, then tap the information icon next to the number you want to block.
On the upcoming sheet, tap Block this Caller to put the number on your block list.
Join the National Do Not Call registry
While this may not completely filter out all robocalls, there’s no harm in entering your information into the registry because that makes it illegal for any legit telemarketing outfit to contact you via your phone. Just go to the donotcall.gov website and enter the mobile phone number you want to add to the list. Or call 1-888-382-1222 from any phone you want on the list. Your number stays on the list until you specifically request removal or change phone numbers. The Do Not Call list takes you off business call lists, but it can take up to a month to go into effect. Political organizations, charities, and pollsters can still call you. Places you’ve done business with over the last 18 months can also legally call you.
You can also file a complaint about a robocall with the FCC by reporting the time, date, phone number, and a description of the message.
Use your carrier’s resources
Major carriers can already identify, filter, and prevent robocalls from reaching you. In response to the FCC’s new rule, 12 large U.S. phone carriers, including the Big Four, have pledged to implement the new technology called STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited)/SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs), designed to identify robocaller spoofing techniques that make phone numbers appear local. As part of the pledge, taken in partnership with 51 U.S. attorneys general, the carriers will also offer free anti-robocall tools to users. For now, major carriers offer basic free services and premium services for a monthly fee.
AT&T: Subscribers can use a free iOS app called AT&T Call Protect. It has automatic fraud blocking and suspected spam warnings and you can manually block unwanted calls by enabling it in your account settings. A premium version is $4 per month.
Verizon: Verizon offers a free call-blocking service and has identified 300 million spam and scam phone numbers that it will block through its spam alert and call-blocking tools. A premium version is $3 per month.
T-Mobile: T-Mobile provides network-level features to combat robocallers and spam calls. Scam ID, an automatic system, identifies spam numbers when your phone rings. Scam Block lets you block those numbers by dialing #662# on your handset (or turn it off by dialing #632#). These non-app features work automatically on the network in the background. T-Mobile also offers a Name ID service for $4 per month, which identifies and provides caller information like the name, location, and type of organization.
Sprint: Sprint customers can use the free My Sprint or sign up for its Premium Caller ID service to protect themselves from robocalls and caller ID spoofing. This service is $3 a month, and it provides a threat level indicator to give customers an idea of how suspicious a call is. It doesn’t automatically block spam calls, but based on the threat level, you can choose to answer a call, block a number, or report it to prevent future calls.
Use a robocall blocking app
There are a number of reputable robocall-blocking apps on the App Store. Most offer a free plus a more extensive paid version. Make sure you know what you’re getting into with third-party apps. Earlier this year, a number of apps were discovered to have gathered and monetized your information while customers trusted them with blocking spam calls. Here are just a few of the most popular ones.
RoboKiller meets the call scam challenge with predictive call-blocking technology and around-the-clock protection to control who can and can’t call you. The app adds spammers to your block list automatically without your phone ringing. You can reverse the process temporarily if you’re expecting a call from an unknown number. Choose the phone numbers you wish to block, and allow the ones you want to go through. View all missed and blocked calls to see who’s trying to reach you. You can also give spammers some pushback with Answer Bots.
This app offers protection from over 1.5 million robocallers, telemarketers, and phone scammers with over 1,500 new robocallers identified every day. Nomorobo is smart enough to distinguish between good robocalls like weather alerts and bad ones, like telemarketers. It does not identify robocalls (which it leaves to you) but it blocks spoofed calls. Its database contains thousands of robocall messages.
Do not disturb
Apple’s Do Not Disturb feature only notifies you about calls from your contacts. All other numbers are delivered silently in the background.
Tap Do Not Disturb.
Chose Allow Call From.
Tap All Contacts.
Whatever strategy or combination of methods you use to combat robocalls, it is bound to promote peace of mind, not to mention peace and quiet. Now that the heavy-duty government and corporate artillery is being aimed at the criminal robocall enterprise, it’s only a matter of time until it ends.
Anyone who wants to download the podcast app Pocket Casts can now do so for free.
Previously, you had to pay a one-time fee of $3.99 to access the Android or iOS apps, but CEO Owen Grover said this approach seemed increasingly at odds with Pocket Casts’ goals, and with the vision of the public radio organizations (NPR, WNYC Studios and WBEZ Chicago) that acquired it last year.
“We understood pretty clearly that we were limiting our reach and limiting the number of users that could enjoy the quality and power of the app and the platform,” Grover said. “It felt penny wise and pound foolish to continue to collect a few dollars at the top … We have the benefit of these owners who are supporting us in a way that allows us to grow our audience, habituate new listeners and deliver a pretty terrific user experience.”
So moving forward, he said the core features of the Pocket Casts app — including audio effects and cross-platform sync — will be available for free.
At the same time, Pocket Casts is launching a monthly subscription called Pocket Casts Plus, where he said “power users and super users” can pay 99 cents a month or $10 a year for access the desktop apps, cloud storage of their own audio and video files and exclusive app icons and themes.
Shifting from a one-time fee to a subscription model might seem like a move to make more money, but Grover said the company is really just charging a fee to cover the costs of the Plus features, particularly cloud storage.
“In the short term, we will make less money. It’s not about that,” he said. “It’s not about maximizing app revenue for us, it’s about maximizing the unique quality of the partnership [with] our wonderful public media partners.”
That doesn’t mean Pocket Casts isn’t interested in making money. In fact, Grover said the team will have “more to share about how we think about sensible, sane, scalable business models moving forward.” (He also assured me that the model won’t focus on advertising.)
He painted this change as part of a broader strategy after last year’s acquisition, which was followed by upgrades to Pocket Casts’ backend and frontend.
“This is really the third pillar — now we’re off to the races,” Grover said.
Over a year after being acquired by a collective group of public radio companies, Pocket Casts has announced it’s shifting to a freemium model. Unlike before where the podcast-listening app charged an upfront fee, Pocket Casts is now a free download and locks a few exclusive perks behind a “Plus” subscription.
Starting today, Pocket Casts is doing away with its $3.99 price tag and offers the majority of its trappings like a dark theme, audio effects at no cost. But to unlock a few premium features, users have the option to opt in for a monthly subscription.
The subscription — that costs $0.99 per month or $10 annually — is called Pocket Casts Plus and includes access to the service’s desktop as well as web apps, additional themes, and icons. People who had bought Pocket Casts’ $9 desktop clients before will be eligible for a three-year subscription of Pocket Casts Plus. Unfortunately, if you had paid for the Pocket Casts mobile app, your account won’t be upgraded to the premium tier.
Pocket Casts Plus also gives you 10GB of cloud storage which you can take advantage of to employ Pocket Casts’ functions for listening to your own media such as audiobooks and lecture recordings. Pocket Casts’ CEO, Owen Grover, further says the cloud storage will come in handy for podcast creators who’d like to test-run their new episodes before publication.
“We recognize the one-time download fee is antiquated, so we’re dropping that. Not because we’re trying to move users to Plus, but rather so we can align with the open-access philosophy of our public media ownership. In fact, we think only a small percentage of power users will opt for Pocket Casts Plus,” added Grover in a statement to Engadget.
The podcast industry is heating up. With giants such as Spotify, Apple, and Google investing aggressively in their podcast arms, Pocket Casts has more competition than ever. Its new announcement suggests the onslaught of new entrants has affected Pocket Casts’ numbers and it no longer made financial sense for it to ask for a hefty fee. It remains to be seen whether free cloud space and desktop clients will be enough to convince users to upgrade to the premium subscription.