Likely part of a larger play to dominate digital content, Apple TV customers can now purchase videos directly from the device, as well as stream videos that they previously purchased through iTunes.
"The new functionality is no doubt part of the company's overall initiative to push all media to its new iCloud storage service," writes MediaBeat. "It's also probably the most significant addition to the Apple TV since it released the second generation device."
Albeit a "quiet update," TechCrunch suggests the move indicates "a pretty big change in strategy" for Apple. "Apple would never frame it this way, but with the emphasis now squarely back on purchases, it seems pretty safe to say that the television show rental model was a failure."
Indeed, "When Steve Jobs introduced the new Apple TV in September 2010, he made a strong case for renting television shows instead of buying them," notes PCWorld. "But now the company is changing its strategy and letting users purchase TV shows as well."
Seeming to downplay the move's bigger implications, All Things D calls it "an interesting departure from the rental-only model." Previously, Apple TV users were only able to purchase rentals of TV shows and movies streamed from the company's servers to the device.
"This is because the current version of the device lacked the available data storage capacity to retain a larger ... video library," MediaBeat notes. "With the iCloud service slated to launch publicly this fall, Apple can finally grant customers access to their media libraries without having them bear the burden of storage.
Last week, AppleInsider revealed that Apple has been selling a half million units of its set-top-box since the device launched late last year. "Though sales of the Apple TV are much higher than other similar devices,," AppleInsider writes, "Apple has famously referred to the relatively niche product as a ‘hobby,' as it doesn't command nearly the kind of sales or attention as a product like the iPhone."
Writes ReadWriteWeb: "Having already turned the markets for personal music players, smartphones and tablets on their heads, Apple now appears poised move even further into another area of consumers' lives: their living rooms."