I think that it is very hard to give a good description of the wind strength. Measuring on the beach is not going to be representative for the strentgh of the wind a bit later out on the water. Also I often fell I can plane 1 knot earlier on port tack, as compare to starboard, so technique is clearly important (on port tack the righthand arm and leg are used the most so that is probably the reason).
I do think that the Apollo is easier to get going than a regular formula. This is due to the longer rocker flat which makes the planing treshhold more gradual, while the larger fin also gives a lot of sideways resistance to push agains, the larger lift also maintains the planning better. There is less need to bear of and pump/pop the board onto the plane like one has to do on a regular formula with a smaller fin. This is perhaps less of a problem for high skill formula sailors, but for the rest it all helps to get going early. For people who want to enjoi early planing without to much hassle I think the Apollo is a good choice.