iFive: iPad 2 Mockup, Amazon vs. Google Android Apps, Online IVF Test, Anonymous vs. Zimbabwe, Amazon Censors Cheating Book

This is your CES incoming alert! Welcome to innovation central, here’s today’s early summary:

The march of 3-D continues, and from next week you’ll be able to rent 3-D content from VUDU, saving you the bother of trying to find a 3-D Blu-ray movie and player in a store (Avatar excluded, of course). Though you will need a 3-D TV. Anyway, on with the news:


1. The iPad 2 may be the leakiest Apple project since the iPhone 4: A case for the upcoming gizmo has shown up at CES, complete with a machined mock-up of the iPad 2 that was based on design specs the Chinese manufacturer has been given. The upshot? We’re right: It’s skinnier, comes with two cameras and a better speaker.

2. Amazon is trying to camp on Google’s front lawn: Today the Amazon Android App Store opens, ready to challenge Google’s messy free-for-all Marketplace with a more curated version of an app store that follows Apple’s model closely. A good idea for higher quality apps? Yet another effort that’ll fragment Android? Merely Amazon mitigating against the tablet infringement on its Kindle hardware space?

3. An online test to predict the likely success of IVF treatments has been developed by U.K. scientists. With no samples, and just nine questions requiring less than a minute of time, the test claims a huge 99% accuracy in predicting how well an IVF treatment will work. It’s based on 144,000 real examples, and is designed to help couples decide whether to try the expensive and emotionally rocky procedure.

4. Anonymous, the online collective being pursued by the FBI for its revenge attacks on U.S. firms who mistreated WikiLeaks, has now launched DDoS attacks against the Zimbabwe government’s web presence. The reason: Learning that one of the leaked cables accused her of taking part in blood diamond sales, and that a local paper had published this, Grace Mugabe, the president’s wife, is suing the paper.

5. Amazon has pulled a self-published book from its online store for one reason: The book explains in detail how to manipulate Amazon’s review and ranking system to ensure your title hits the top of the recommendation charts. Thomas Herthog, author of The Day the Kindle Died, says it’s hypocritical. At one remove, it’s almost funny.

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