I has planned this for March 6th, but unfortunately my tardiness caused me to be just in time in Washington DC to pick up my mom from the airport (no, not the Airport Express, the actual Dulles International Airport), and no time to waste by visiting the Apple Store in Tyson’s Corner.

However, when I dropped her off at the airport on the 16th, I thought I’d have plenty of time. And I would have had, if I’d know my way around Tyson’s Corner a bit better. As it turns out, I had just enough time to drop in, play with a couple of devices, and head out. And so I did.

First on the list was the MacBook Air. That thing is really surprisingly thin and light. And the finish is beautiful. To demonstrate how light it is, there was a customer watching a movie while balancing the Air on one hand. Wow.

Next was the iMac. That was actually a bit thicker than I expected it to be. Plus the bevel below the screen is larger than it looks on the website or the advertisements. The keyboard however is beautiful. The Mighty Mouse wasn’t as intuitive as I had hoped it would be, but after a while I think I figured it out.

I skipped the Mac Pro and the other two MacBooks, because they had a small pavilion set up with educational software. The kids were playing with the software, and completely ignoring the machine. It may be that this happens with educational software on PCs as well, but I never noticed that payed any attention to that. It must have something to do with being a new daddy… 🙂

I browsed the software and accessories isles a bit before I zeroed in on the next target: Apple TV 2.0. Looks good, nice remote, too bad it seemed to be running in some kind of demo mode. But it’s going on my wish list. Especially if the rumors about DVR capabilities being built in turn out to be true.

My last stop was the table with the iTouch and the iPhone. The iTouch was alarmingly light - I suspected it was a mock-up, but no, it was a fully functional 16GB music, video, and Internet device. Really cool. The iPhone was much heavier than the iTouch - much heavier than any phone I had I think. Same interface, but the addition of GPS makes Google maps fully functional, and it is amazing to see your location with satellite maps. It makes you think that you could zoom in and see yourself standing.

And then it was time to leave. I think I could have stayed until they closed the store - I had the same feeling as back in 1978 when I was playing with the TRS-80 at a Radio Shack store. And as at a trade show a couple of years later when they had an Apple Lisa set up to play with. It’s the kid-in-a-candystore feeling, that was lacking from the Gateway store I visited, and certainly lacks from Walmart or Best Buy. I will be back Apple Store - either in person or on the web.