In my opinion, Ab initio means the equations and solutions do not explicitly vary from system to system. This would mean that no matter whether it’s an apple or a tennis ball, the equations are the same (the masses can, of course, be different but if the masses are the same, the equation is exactly the same). The model doesn’t change just because apple is edible while tennis balls aren’t, for instance. This example is from classical physics, therefore classical physics is ab initio.
In quantum physics as well, we don’t explicitly mention anything in the Schrödinger’s equation other than constants h and m, therefore for the same potential and energy, we must get a “universal” solution. Hence, it’s ab initio.
Classical Electromagnetism is ab initio, and I think the first principles are that there are charges and they interact with and influence other charged bodies. I’m not sure if these indeed are the first-principles.