Ok...My Macbook of nearly 5 years is starting to give me fits. The trackpad is intermittently working, I'm running out of hard drive space, the bottom rubber is starting to peel, and I really need more memory for it.

The wife has decreed that she wants a new Apple laptop (it's what she's used to, she has an iPhone and iCloud, she just wants stuff to sync, blah blah blah). I'm not opposed to this at all; I will buy into more of the fruit stand. :) The Apple product purchase is non-negotiable (if I want to get lucky ever again, it must be an Apple product - keep the wife happy, she keeps me happy).

Because of this, I have been shopping the Apple store. I currently have about $1500 to play with (well, actually, $1700, but with California sales tax, I'm figuring an additional $200 to dish out, and I'd REALLY like to keep a purchase UNDER my limit).

Here's what we use it for:

I record and edit my podcast on it (for those who are interested, visit http://www.mygenerationpodcast.com) using GarageBand.

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I write papers on it for school (Pages works just fine for me, and I already own a copy of it via the App Store, so I should have no problem porting it to my new Mac).

I am also taking some art classes and am looking to run Sketchbook Pro on it in the very near future, as well as Photoshop CS5 (it's what I've got, I'm not going to get any more crazy than that).

The wife's requirements?

"Can I play Candy Crush Saga and Skype with my mom?"

Here's what I've been looking at:

13 inch 2.9Ghz Macbook Pro at $1300, new through the Apple Store

Refurbished 13" Macbook Pro, 2.5Ghz i5 core processor w/750GB HD, $1100.

I've waffled a little with the Macbook Air, but the SSD space just seems to be REALLY limiting if I'm doing a podcast and recording episodes where the raw audio recording are in the neighborhood of 100+ MB each (plus my wife doesn't know how to manage files to the external NAS I have, so I'd be running out of room every time I turn around).

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Any suggestions, folks? Again, MUST be Apple in order to keep the wife happy, so please don't suggest any Windows laptops. Anything you guys might know either way on the above laptops (or something within my $1500 Apple budget) would be greatly appreciated.