A US court ruling will force three US bloggers to reveal sources of stories that lifted the curtain on new Apple products ahead of official launch.

Apple issued a subpoena against three sites after they published confidential information including details of Asteroid, a new audio tool. The computer firm is notoriously secretive about product launches and claims employees leaked details in breach of their non-disclosure agreements. Bloggers for Think Secret, Apple Insider and Power Page will now have to divulge names, emails and copies of documents sent by the sources.

Judge James Kleinberg ruled on Friday that any public interest in the information was outweighed by laws protecting trade secrets.

"The public has had and continues to have a profound interest in gossip about Apple. But an interested public is not the same as public interest."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has supported the bloggers' case and plans to appeal against the ruling on behalf of PowerPage and Apple Insider.

EFF believes that the ruling sets a worrying precedent for online journalists who might miss out on valuable information if they cannot promise confidentiality to their sources.

Think Secret is also being sued directly by Apple after it published leaked details of Mac's iLife and Mac mini products.

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