As the complete source code for the APC is still unavailable, and it seems that the ‘standard’ Android OS on the device does not include some sort of console, the only way to get control (at least of the boot process) would appear to be by using the UART port on the board, and a pinout / voltage converter (3.3v to 5v USB)..and using minicom and a USB port on my Linux box..
So… after more excellent detective work by APC forum members, I have ordered an appropriate converter card, and a set of connector cables.. Some details of how this can be done – and an example of the results – are on the Openschemes site, at http://openschemes.com/2012/08/02/getting-some-console-on-apc/
This is not the first time I have had to do this, as the Dreamplug uses a JTAG converter to get access to that devices boot process, and both the Dreamplug and the APC use U-Boot as their bootloader….
Now….. All I have to do is wait for the APCs to clear UK Customs, with the expected bill for tax and duties, which will make the whole exercise a bit more expensive than originally planned!