I would definitely not frown away from the iPad, it can be an amazing tool if used right. Don't let it control you and waste time forcing yourself to use it, but rather use it for what it is great at, and use other tools for what they are great at.
There are many great tools to use to access information from multiple devices, the ipad being one of them. I'm a big fan of cloud computing!
A great tool for organized research is: Evernote
you can use your same account on multiple devices and easily clip information from websites and organize your notes and clips for easy retrieval from your ipad, computer etc... I think tools like evernote, should be required for students of all ages, it helps you remain focused and organized quite easily.
I'm also a huge fan of Dropbox, which is so darn genius. You can have all your documents sync'd and/or accessible from multiple devices (including ipad) again with very low learning curve. Always have your stuff when you need it with @Dropbox. 2GB account is free! http://db.tt/0s33aMK
I'm a huge fan of google docs as well (more of a power user), but it still does not touch dropbox in terms of ease of use and file management, but it is getting much better.
Both Google docs and dropbox can be integrated into many powerful apps for the ipad, such as GoodReader http://www.goodreader.net/goodreader.html
As for note taking on an ipad, you will want an external keyboard, either a bluetooth apple keyboard or other. I just dont think that it is really practical to type with speed and percision as easily with the onscreen keyboard. I personally don't have any experience taking notes on the ipad, so I can't speak from experience. However, I have tried forcing myself to use it for data input and have been frustrated. I still go back to my mac for that. Again, use the right tool for the right job. The iPad is not great for everything, but for many things, there is nothing better.
Ideally, I personally don't see that the ipad will be as great of a tool for taking notes, I still think a smaller notebook, like a macbook air or macbook is far more an input tool. The ipad, in my eyes and experience is a wonderful consumption and reading device, but not a powerhouse workhorse. I would suggest using the ipad as an easy study device, reading device, resource tool.
There are amazing quiz apps that you can easily enter in flashcard data, and quiz yourself in a very dynamic way, with intelligence helping you optimize your study time, and master your content fast than the old fashioned way IMO
The one I like and have used on either the iphone or ipad is:
There are far less apps developed solely for the ipad than for the iphone, so don't rule out apps for the iphone. Eventually all the great apps will make their way to the ipad versions, but currently you can still use the iphone versions on the ipad.
I'm a huge believer that taking time to use the right tools before the time you will need them will make you a far more efficient student.
Hope that helps.