When I first started using my iPad2 for business, I carried my laptop in my trunk just in case I needed it. There were a few times I preferred the laptop, mainly when I had to type a lot or work in spreadsheets. However, with a few accessories and apps, I have completely cut the cord to the laptop. Here is my list of the essentials.
Bluetooth Keyboard: There are many options, but the Apple model is very light, easy to carry, and a breeze to type on. Whatever your preference, it makes data entry much easier. Learn your keyboard shortcuts to replace click and drag (Control + Arrow) to make life easier.
Case: The Smart cover is okay, but it doesn’t protect the entire iPad and doesn’t give many options for viewing angles. I picked up the Tri-Axis Stasis Series: Veggie Leather case cover stand from Tuff-Luv.com and love it! It allows multiple viewing angles in a nice looking protective case. I paid 28 pounds and it came from the UK in about 2 weeks, roughly $50.
Stylus: If you want to write directly on your iPad or have a more accurate device than your finger to choose your options, you need a stylus.
Remote Desktop: In order to be truly productive I still need applications on my desktop, there are many options but I prefer iTap RDP. It allows the user of gestures for common mouse clicks, and is easy to zoom in before choosing an option for fat fingers.
Note Taking: There are a ton of note taking apps and I use a few of them. If you are using a keyboard, the built in Notes app works fine. However, if you want to write on your iPad, there are better options. I like both Note Taker HD and Notes Plus. They both have a great feature that allows you to write in a large area for input, and it then shrinks the words to fit properly on the page. I like Note Taker because you can import documents and use write directly on them, and then email them directly from the app.
Numbers and Pages are Apples version of Excel and Word. They can be saved as .xls and .doc and you can open word and excel files from them. If you work a lot in these programs it may make sense to invest $10 each in these programs.
With these essential accessories and apps you should be able to cut the cord and travel lighter with your iPad for business.