An AT&T concept store opening this weekend in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights aims to "differentiate the AT&T experience," according to AT&T retail president Paul Roth. Roth told AllThingsD that AT&T needs to do more to lure the shopper into its stores now that most mobile phones essentially look the same (blocks of glass with software underneath). To that end, AT&T is borrowing heavily from the Apple Store model.
The Arlington Heights concept store has eliminated traditional cash registers in favor of a payment system using iPads and iPhones, just like Apple does in its stores. The store will also feature wide glass windows, so passersby can easily see what's on display inside and feel more "invited" to come in -- another Apple Store trait. Finally, the store will offer "bar stool-style seats and tables to try out the latest devices and services as well as a spot to get in-store support for devices and software," according to AllThingsD. Throw a logo of an atom with swirling electrons on it and you'd have a Genius Bar.
Some non-Apple Store features will also be included in the store, including two large touchscreen walls and an entire section of the store dedicated to "emerging devices," such as new Bluetooth and wireless accessories. Expect whatever features of the concept store that are a hit to make it into other AT&T stores in the future.