I've got a 1 GHz (first edition) 17" powerbook. No issues. Best laptop I've ever had. The newer version is faster (1.33 GHz), has a slightly better video card and USB2. Only problem I've had was a crappy spare battery that Apple replaced.
Don't forget that the discussion boards only describe the problems and are not representative.
My brother-in-law bought the G4 1.33 pwerbook at the beginning of December and it's a very nice mac. Very fast, no hardware issues and I'm very jealeous.
The rumours of a new top of line powerbook are definately buzzing around as usual. The one thing that I would seriously look at is the amount of time that has passed since the last iteration of the line. If you look at the history of the G4 powerbooks over the past couple of years than expect an update within the next couple of months. A friend of mine bought a G3 iBook 3 days before they became G4s. But she didn't mind because the retailers didn't have them in stock for weeks anyways and she could not wait that long. Even if they announce a new G4 line up, who knows how long before the stores have them in stock. The older poweroboks will usually drop in price when the new line is announced, so you may get the older lineup at a sweet price and forgo buying the latest and greatest.
If you are not in a hurry I would definately wait it out.