The purple flare phenomenon you're seeing in certain photos taken with the iPhone 5 is perfectly normal, according to Apple, and it's an issue that affects the cameras found in nearly all smartphones. The company today posted a support article seeking to eliminate concerns that the problem is inherent to its latest handset, explaining that the purplish light can in fact be replicated with every prior iPhone model.
Apple says the issue arises when users take pictures with a light source that's just outside the frame. This light "causes a reflection off the surfaces inside the camera module and onto the camera sensor" that results in an unwelcome flare or haze. Apple's suggestion is to simply recompose your shot slightly until the issue disappears or shield the camera with your hand to minimize any flaring.
Immediately after the iPhone 5 launched, users were quick to voice concerns over the device's susceptibility to scratches, scuffs, and other hardware blemishes — some even arrived with physical flaws out of the box. Apple's response to the purple haze "controversy" is likely an attempt to head off further doubts about its new flagship hardware. In this case, though, the company's explanation checks out with photo experts. For example, in their quick review of the iPhone 5's camera, the folks at Digital Photography Review told buyers "not to worry" about the issue and to merely avoid composing shots with bright lights at the edge of your frame.