As first spotted by FlatPanelsHD and 9to5Mac, Apple has completely removed the option to rent or buy. Instead, it now serves up a "how to watch" button that points people to Apple products or "other streaming devices". The Apple TV app’s top navigation no longer has Movies and TV shows or Store sections either. The only parts left are Watch Now, Apple TV Plus, and Library. Although movie and TV show listings are still discoverable, if you open a title, you'll only see the "how to watch" button alongside the option to "add to Up Next".
One has to wonder why Apple is doing this and whether it is trying to avoid Google’s 30 per cent commission on sales.
Keep in mind Apple first launched the Apple TV app for select Android TV devices over two years ago, before rolling it out more widely last summer. Now, it's reversing course, by entirely stripping the app of its core functionality. Of course, you can still use it to watch content in your existing library and any movies and shows purchased on other devices. You can also still buy or rent content from the Apple TV app if you use it on Roku devices, smart TVs from Samsung and LG, Xbox and PlayStation consoles, and Apple’s own products.
Pocket-lint has contacted Apple for a comment.