I have the original iPad and I won't be getting this one. I'll probably buy the iPad 3, which will likely feature a 'Retina Display' (Apple's term for a display in which the pixels are so dense that the pixels become indistinguishable to a person with average eyesight). The iPhone 4 has a screen of this sort and I absolutely love the clarity when reading.
As for the iPad 2, the advancements are terrific. This thing is going to be a monster in terms of processing power and speed. I'm definitely looking forward to trying it out. And I don't think there's any reason to get something other than an iPad if someone wants to buy this new type of tablet computer. The only worthwhile competitors are based on Android which won't be ready for tablets until it comes equipped with Gingerbread, and even then, it is still years behind iOS in terms of accessibility, polish, usability, stability, speed, and probably most important, the App Store and the developer community. RIM's upcoming PlayBook is a joke and HP's WebOS-based tablet is also behind, though it at least shows terrific potential for the future.
When the first iPad came out I wasn't sure if I actually wanted one. It took a few months for me to warm up to the idea at all. At one point (as availability started to improve) I spotted one at Best Buy and tried it out. I immediately started to appreciate it. It is just a very enjoyable, convenient, and immersive way to handle so many of the day-to-day activities we might have once depended on a computer for. It also serves as a reading companion and I've also started using the AirPlay feature quite a bit (e.g. playing movies on the exercise room television while I'm working out).
And regarding product reliability, you could probably snatch it up right out the gate without much fuss. Apple has been putting terrific effort into ensuring the initial stability and reliability of these iOS devices upon initial release and they've got quite a bit of experience with the hardware and the software to date. It is possible that there might be some kind of unforeseen problem (e.g. some iPhone 4s had odd discolored patches on their screens) but if that happens you could just swing it back by the Apple Store or call Apple and have it replaced (without having to worry about availability).