I have dropped my 3GS from much higher elevations without any breaks. This was the damage after about a foot fall.
Apple is known for superb SCM practices, they fell short here on this one, shipping early without procedures or replacement parts in stock.
- The quality or condition of being hard.
- The relative resistance of a mineral to scratching, as measured by the Mohs scale.
- The relative resistance of a metal or other material to denting, scratching, or bending.
- Difficult to bend; rigid.
- Not moving or operating easily or freely; resistant: a stiff hinge.
- Lacking ease or comfort of movement; not limber: a stiff neck.
- Drawn tightly; taut.
The fact is, hardness refers to the ability of the glass to resist scratches not to the lack of breakability. Remember Mohs scale of hardness? You can't scratch a diamond easily but if you hit one with a hammer, you're going to end up with a pile of diamond dust.
The problem is the slightly exposed edge of the glass. There is no rim or lip covering it and that is the weakest point of any glass. No matter how glass is hardened or tempered, a direct hit on the edge at the right angle will cause it to shatter. The very thing that makes this phone's screen prone to breaking is one of it's coolest aesthetic features.
The new iPhone is will be difficult to scratch and bend, but Apple didn't said anything about the iPhone easily shattering.