Just thought that I'd mention that I'm running on an Ultra96v2 with the v2.5 image and it works fine although I think that you may be correct about no AP on boot. I'm using a USB to Ethernet adapter to connect. I do not see the AP when I run ifconfig. I do see the usb0 network interface on 192.168.3.1. I'd recommend that you try connecting over USB. I have used the WiFi with this image (wlan0) and it works. I also have a JTAG/UART pod so I don't use the usb0 connection much.
I'm surprised that you needed to format your SD card as new ones are normally pre-fomatted to FAT32.