These types of errors can happen with any computing device new or old. This is why you should always keep a backup of irreplaceable files.
If it occurs again try Resetting it first by holding the Sleep button till the "Slide to power off" button appears. Once it powers down completely hold the Sleep button till you see the Apple icon. Usually this will be enough to get iTunes to recognize the iPad properly again and is less drastic than a Restore. If a Reset doesn't do it then you would obviously have to Restore.
As I said before, these things can happen with any computing device new or old. I would make a guess in saying a new device is probably more vulnerable that an older one since you are making regular changes to it's settings and copying new apps. iPads are the same as computers and may need to have their operating systems reinstalled occasionally. Sometimes these issues may be fixed with less drastic measures but they are time consuming where a Restore is fast and easy.
You will not damage your iPad in any way Restoring it whether it is new or old. You can restore it as many times as you want with out having adverse effects on it. You may go for years not having to do it, or you may have to do it occasionally to fix problems. The main thing is is to keep good up to date back ups as well as making sure your irreplaceable files are included in a back up. You may never need the back up, but if you don't have one when you need it you're screwed.
Digital data, bits and bytes, can be copied wrong or corrupted for many reasons which can make things unstable. Apps may not have been copied properly or may have an effect on the operating system which can make it unstable. It is even possible that cosmic radiation that is all around us all the time can effect electronics although this is rare. The suns regular sun spot cycles and solar storms can have adverse effects on the power grid on earth.
The main point is, any computing device may need to have its operating system re-installed whether it is new or old. If it needs it re-installed regularly it may have hardware problems or there is a rouge app contantly corrupting the system.