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New 'lounge' concept coming to future Apple Store

A new Apple Store in St. Louis, Mo., could include a new feature previously unseen at the company's retail locations: a "lounge" area with free Wi-Fi.

According to Gary Allen at ifo Apple Store, Apple's forthcoming store at St. Louis Galleria will be the largest mall-based store from the company in the U.S. when it's completed. One new addition that sources said will be in front of the location is a permanent kiosk that will be used as a lounge area, and offer customers the ability to check in to Genius Bar appointments.

"According to mall observers, Starbucks is soon moving its coffee sales operation to the second floor, outside the entrance to the Nordstrom store that opens in September 2011," Allen wrote. "Apple will then reportedly occupy the 592 square-feet permanent kiosk as a Genius Bar check-in space, Wi-Fi lounge and/or training space."

The "Genius Lounge" concept would be unique to the St. Louis store, a first of its kind for Apple's highly successful retail outlets. The new store will occupy over 6,000 square feet, and will have a storefront 55 feet wide.

The new location will also have the stainless steel and stone floor design that have become a trademark of Apple stores. It will replace an existing "mini" store located in the St. Louis Galleria.

Genius Lounge

Allen noted that Microsoft's own retail store in Mission Viejo, Calif., has a similar "lounge" in front of it, featuring bench seats, planter boxes and a double-sided video screen. The space is occasionally used for customer training or meet-ups.