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Impulsive moment brings fame to Chinese ¿iPhone girl¿

When a fellow worker in Chinese iPhone factory casually snapped her picture, neither could have imagined the Internet buzz they would generate.

It started when a visitor to MacRumors posted three pictures of the winsome young lady (her name has not been released) in an iPhone forum on the site Aug. 20.

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"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 personalise with a photo) already had a photo set against it!!!!" wrote Markm49uk of Kingston Upon Hull. "It would appear that someone on the production line was having a bit of fun - has anyone else found this?"

The photos attracted enough attention that news organizations both in the U.K. and China soon took an interest. This morning the South China Morning Post tracked down someone at Foxconn Technology Group, the Taiwan-based contractor that builds the iPhone for Apple, who confirmed the girl works in a factory in the city of Shenzhen.

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The spokeswoman explained that the workers may have taken the photos to test the device but neglected to delete them. Another Foxconn official told China's, Southern Metropolitan Daily that the mystery girl had not been fired, as several of those commenting on the MacRumors forum had predicted.

Apple as usual had no comment when contacted by the Associated Press, but I think it could be missing a big opportunity here.

Apple could encourage factory workers in Asia to put their photos -- or even their names -- on the iPhones, iPods and Macs they build as a fun gimmick so customers could see the person who built their device. Apple could even supply a template for the workers: "Designed by Apple in California. Built by [insert name here] in Shenzhen, China."

Not every device would have a photo of course, so getting one would be like winning a raffle. It could be one more thing that would set Apple apart from the competition and make its products even more personal.

Why not?

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