Mystery Chinese iPhone worker becomes Internet star

CANBERRA, Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:40am EDT

Patrick Morse shows off his new Apple iPhone 3G after spending the night in line outside an Apple Store in Boston, Massachusetts July 11, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Patrick Morse shows off his new Apple iPhone 3G after spending the night in line outside an Apple Store in Boston, Massachusetts July 11, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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CANBERRA, (Reuters) - A Chinese factory worker has become an Internet sensation after a picture of her smiling and flashing a peace sign to a co-worker testing an Apple iPhone stayed on the phone that was sold to a man in Britain.

Photos of the unidentified, smiling woman were posted on the Apple discussion website MacRumours.com by a customer identified as "markm49uk" from Kingston-upon-Hull and quickly posted around other sites.

"Not sure if this is or is not the 'norm' but I just received my brand new iPhone here in the UK and once it had been activated on iTunes I found that the home screen (the screen you can personalize with a photo) already had a photo set against it!!!!" he wrote.

"It would appear that someone on the production line was having a bit of fun - has anyone else found this?"

Some people voiced concern that the woman could now lose her job while others joked on the website that they were considering returning their phones because they did not come loaded with a photo.

"I think its a kind of personal touch. It's nice. Maybe every phone that gets a full quality test should have its tester's picture taken and left on there. And the working conditions look pretty good," wrote one.

Taiwanese company Foxconn assembles the iPhones for Apple in Shenzhen in southern China but calls to the company by Reuters went unanswered.

However Foxconn spokesman Liu Kun told the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong that the woman had been identified but her details would not be released. She had also been assured by her bosses that her job was safe.

Liu said the photos were taken in the testing department as part of a normal procedure and only one phone was known to be affected so far.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, editing by Miral Fahmy)

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