'iPhone Girl' Finds Fame And Fear On The Production Line

Robert Andrews
Thursday, August 28, 2008; 7:00 AM

Nevermind the dodgy 3G, the tough sales targets or those allegations of poor working conditions on Apple's ( NSDQ: AAPL) Chinese production line; life on the iPhone coalface is a laugh a minute - and here's the proof?

A British customer named Mark last week turned on his new iPhone to find a number of photos already on the handset. The pictures, which were meant to test the camera but were never deleted and were posted to MacRumors, show a worker at assembly contractor Foxconn's Shenzhen plant posing with a wide smile and making "peace" signs with the gadget while coworkers listen to some banging iTunes tracks.

In the normal order of things, the young lady might expect quick dismissal for bringing Lord Jobs' usually pristine empire in to disrepute - but a Foxconn spokesperson called the episode just "a beautiful mistake". This from the same company that was the subject of a 2006 newspaper exposé claiming workers earn just £27 a month and "live in dormitories on the site, 100 to a room, arriving with a few possessions and a bucket to wash their clothes". So this may actually begoodPR? perhaps Cupertino should preload a picture of a beaming Chinese worker oneveryphone?

But it's not all smiles - the unnamed employee's growing fame (she has predictably become a Digg hit and is supposedly being stalked by paparazzi) has freaked out the one they're calling "iPhone girl", the spokesman told today's South China Morning Post?

"She's just a young girl who has come to the city from her remote hometown. She's never been in such a situation. She's really scared by the media. She told me she wanted to quit her job and go back home to get away from this. We let her off work today so she could rest."

© 2008 ContentNext Media Inc.