Apple Puts Up Another Walled Garden

Ring a fence around loyal Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) customers. Get them to buy more Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) products. Keep the customer’s content seamlessly inside these devices using the cloud. Then, make it easy for the customer to buy content from Apple and instantly make it available on all his or her devices. That, in a nutshell, is perhaps Apple’s latest  strategy with iCloud, made available free, effective today on iOS5, the company’s newest mobile operating system.

Check Out: Apple Cheat Sheet: iPhone Event Recap.

After some not so memorable attempts at providing online services, this move may in fact be successful and do wonders for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) already gargantuan market cap (upwards of $371B). According to Walter Price, a portfolio manager at RCM Capital Management, iCloud could increase Apple’s market value by $100 billion to $500 billion, due to the new service’s beneficial effect on sales of hardware devices and songs, movies, and other media.

Another plus for the company would be customers finding it harder to switch from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) products. Bill Whyman, a technology analyst with International Strategy & Investment Group says “iCloud could raise the switching costs for the customer, and the barriers to entry for the competitor. That’s very powerful.” And it’s also not great news for fierce cloud competitors Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

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AAPL is trading at $402.19 today, up 0.47%. Shares are up 34.08% in one year. The stock’s trading range for the year is between $292.49 and $422.86.