NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I hope the rumors are true and Apple (AAPL - Get Report) announces iRadio at its Worldwide Developers Conference later this month. I want a reason to go back to iTunes, assuming iRadio gets wrapped up inside of it, as it probably should.Apple needs to do something, primarily because, over time, iTunes, as a platform to do anything with music -- consume, discover, purchase -- will continue to die. Spend five minutes with Rdio and you'll see how insignificant iTunes could end up. Plus there are the well-publicized design and functionality flaws with iTunes. Apple's entire approach to music needs a serious refresh.
That said, if you're a Pandora investor, you might actually benefit if Apple steals some Internet radio marketshare from the undisputed leader. Pandora owns Internet radio by a mile -- and claims roughly 7.3% of total radio listening -- so it actually has some ground to give. The net effect of an Apple chink in Pandora's armor could be positive for Pandora stock. "Everybody" wants to see Pandora post a profit. Many of these same people reacted hastily to the company's 40-hour-per-month mobile listening cap as a negative. Turns out the move lowered content acquisition costs as listener hours moderated and more than doubled subscription revenue. That helped the bottom line and played a role in Pandora's upbeat outlook.
While I don't expect a measurable dent in Pandora's listening metrics as a result of iRadio, I could be wrong. And, if I am, that could be a good thing. A little more slight but still significant moderation of Pandora's hyper growth and out-sized content costs could make P/L look even better than it did this quarter. Given the 180 turn so many have done on the company, a couple quarters' worth of profits come the second half of 2013, first half of 2014, could signal perceived stabilization of a business model the doubters were wrong to question in the first place. That could send one of the year's top-performing stocks (P is up approximately 79% year-to-date) even higher. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.