Perhaps you're being just a little harsh and quick to judge?
To address your concerns re my purchasing - in order:
Apple products - I am no recent convert to the 'i' family. I've been championing Apple products since the days of the Lisa and the Apple IIe. And THAT was a long, long time ago.
Just because I use Apple products, don't' assume that I've only recently started doing so. The fact of the matter is that they make computers that suit the way I work. I particularly like the fact that the new (at least, it's newer) OS X is built around a Unix kernel.
I also use an iPhone - I tried Android (a HTC Desire HD) and it simply didn't work as well as the iPhone does. So I changed.
Having said that, I don't use an iPad. I don't like the form factor and I'm not that fond of iOS (it's fine for a phone, but when upsized to the iPad it seems a little underdone)... to that end, I'm not particularly happy with OS X Lion - a little too iOS for my taste, but what is the alternative? I refuse to deal with the issues of PC world - not because I'm ignorant or because I'm technically unable, but because I've had to do it in the past, it isn't fun and I don't want to bother anymore.
Rapha - my (at the time) girlfriend (who is now my wife) turned me on to Rapha. You're right, I did have a go at them about a couple of products that were a little substandard and some of their marketing is utter BS as we all know. BUT, my wife is well versed in garment construction and she tells me that their stuff is actually very well made and quite technical. I don't know how you can blanket state that their gear is substandard. Some of it isn't as high quality as the rest of their range (I'm thinking particularly of their 2011 Pro Team kit and their Grand Tour gloves - both of which are, in my opinion, not up to their normal standard). So, no, I'm not really swayed by their marketing - since I live in Australia and we have about as much chance to ride real mountains as we do to fly without wings; I'm more swayed by my total experience with their products. At the moment I'd give them about an 85 out of 100 and that's better than the vast majority of companies can manage these days. Also, their customer service really is very, very good.
Specialized - how can you, of all people, call this one into question! You know that I hated the brand and then had exposure to it and experience with it and so changed my opinion based on fact rather than what it was before - exposure to the company, but not the product.
I, like most, want to think that marketing has zero effect on me. The truth is probably more likely to be that I'm wrong and marketing affects me just like everyone else.
This post may contain my opinion.
My opinion is just that - mine. My opinions are based on my experiences, not yours. Yes, I do have experience, I have thought this through and yes, that really is what I think.