She might have done nothing more than flash a smile to her colleague testing an iPhone camera on a Chinese production line. But her "angel-like" smile has attracted the attention of iPhone users across the world.
The "iPhone-girl" frenzy began last week when her photographs appeared on MacRumors.com, a popular forum of Apple product fans.
Markm49uk, a British netizen who posted the photographs, said he found the mystery girl smiling at him from the screen when he unpacked his new 3G iPhone. He found two more of her photographs in the photo album.
The round-faced Chinese girl, in pink-and-white uniform, makes a "V" sign while working on an assembly line and smiles from the iPhone screen.
The girl's beautiful face has become a permanent fixture on the new iPhone because one of her colleagues apparently forgot to delete it from the memory of the master copy.
Then began netizens' search for her, making her instantly popular and prompting even the global media to report the incident.
Many people fear that the girl could be penalized by her employers for posing for the home screen. But her employers Foxconn, a Taiwan-funded company that makes iPhones for Apple in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, has given an assurance that she or her supervisor would not be penalized.
In fact, Foxconn has described the incident as a "beautiful mistake".
"She is an assembly worker in the mobile phone testing department and she is still working there. But she has requested us not to make her name public and we will respect her decision," Liu Kun, Foxconn Technology Group spokesman, said. He, however, told China Daily that the girl was a native of Hunan province.
Her photograph appeared on the iPhone screen because of "a small mistake during our working process but the outcome has not been negative". On the contrary, "her lovely face has become popular on the Internet and we would rather call it a beautiful mistake", Liu said.
Every iPhone's built-in camera will be tested from now on, and any such photographs deleted, Liu said. "Apple and Foxconn staff have started a joint probe into the incident."
But most of the netizens seem to like the girl with a "very cute" face.
A netizen named Chris Meadows has written: "If I knew my iPhone would come with a photo of a cute, smiling girl, I would almost be willing to pay extra (especially if it also included her email address)."
Netizen ASH has even suggested that Foxconn make the girl its ambassador because her smile shows even assembly line workers can have fun at work.
(Xinhua News Agency August 27, 2008)