Your $730 iPad2 has Cellular and Retina Display 2048x1536 (much higher than your standard 1366x768 laptop).
You can't compare the iPad2 Retina's price to the cheapest laptop/ultrabook. A iPad2 Retina is 'premium', akin to a high end, more powerful laptop/ultrabook (eg. a gaming laptop). When you compare a premium tablet to a premium laptop, its quite obvious that a $1000+ high performance laptop is significantly more expensive than your $730 iPad2 Retina. Obviously whether the OP is looking for performance or Cellular+HighResDisplay will determine what he's going to buy. From what he has said, he only needs note-taking and some wifi features which a tablet is more than capable of.