My copy was wedged in my front door when I got home tonight.
Initial impression was that it seemed a little thin. However there does seem to be a lot of good stuff crammed into it's 64 pages, well worth the 18 bucks I paid.
It seems to be a good combination of crunchy and chewy.
The section on medieval childhood is informative for me and provides some good flavor. In particular some of the discussion of the trials of a gifted childhood. Turbulence is kind of a nice new mechanic IMO. The OP described it as a mini twilight kind of deal, to me it's more like the stuff that happens to young wizards in the Harry Potter books. It fits well in the setting though. Apprentices even gives a quick discussion of schools of magic and why they are really hard to pull off. One of the points they make is that it can be a really bad idea to put a bunch of children with the gift under one roof. Adolescence and the social effects of the gift are not a very good combination. And then you have the new rules on turbulence, it's effected by strong emotion.
As near as I can tell the book doesn't touch on the Failed Apprentice virtue and lab work. Not really surprised the authors didn't want to step in that argument. It does give optional mechanics for how story guide characters could lose their gift. (Hint, don't push your lab assistants to hard or they might break) The book does very clearly state that PC's should only ever lose their gift if the players agree and never just as the result of dice rolls.
There are rules for playing kids and aging them. Giving you options to trade virtues & flaws at aging milestones. There are some guidelines dealing with specific virtues liked skilled parens or educated. Also a few child only virtue and flaws.
Also yes there is a discussion of the "standard apprenticeship" and using the very complex character generation method. Basically the book admits that if you role-play through the apprenticeship you'll end up with a character way ahead of "normal characters"
The system for teaching hermetic virtues isn't bad. Reminiscent of initiation rules and teaching. In theory full fledged Magi can teach each other hermetic virtues but, like teaching supernatural abilities, the required totals can quickly become impossible to reach. Still the implication that the Gentle Gift is something that can be taught is interesting from a philosophical/cosmological point of view in setting.
Also guidelines for how house virtues are passed on are included. They are different from the rules for teaching hermetic virtues and create some more pressure for parens to personally instruct apprentices as much as possible.
There is a nice little discussion of gauntlets and also on how Parma is imparted. It is actually possible and even expected for apprentices to accumulate xp in Parma without learning "the secret". Essentially banking the xp until the character is initiated into the order.