I used to have (*gasp*) a pair of the original Apple IEMs (not the newer ADDIEM one, but their first, dynamic driver model). They were pretty much atrocious, but a lot of people liked them because they said Apple and had the typical Apple aesthetic. In fact, I'd have to say that the original iBuds, and certainly the second generation iBuds (and probably the EarPods, which are supposed to be pretty good), sounded better then those IEMs. Also, the bloody things never stayed in my ears properly, no matter which of the included tips I tried.
I imagine a lot of people wanted to replace the iconic white iBuds with something that looked similar, saw that Apple made such a thing, and just bought them blindly. I myself picked them up because (A) they were on sale, and (B) I'll admit I was having a bit of an Apple product rush myself. That ended after I bought those IEMs, which were a pretty big disappointment. Granted, this was 2006, so it was a while before the explosion of these things we've got in the market today. Which IEMs were decent for $35 back then? (I'm actually curious).
I'll wrap this up by saying that there was probably a time when all of us were caught up in brand name hype. In fact, my choice of an iPod as my portable player was influenced in part by all the Apple commercials I saw for them. (I have no complaints about the device, BTW--my heavily abused 5G unit is still working and still gets decent battery life after almost seven years!). Part of getting the most value for your money, I believe, is divorcing yourself from the idea that a "brand name" is always going to be your best choice, or that if something looks cool and is expensive, it must be good. Sometimes, like in the case of my iPod, it works out all right. Other times, like with those IEMs, I'm sure there was probably something better out there for the money, even back in 2006.
Oh, well. Lesson learned.