The Drive+Play system consist of three components: Controller, Interface Module, and Display. The Controller and the Display units interfaces with the user. The Interface Module connects all the hardware with the iPod and the car's stereo system.
The Controller unit has four buttons at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock position. The large center is the "enter" button. The entire outside of the knob is turnable and mimics the action of the iPod's wheel. So if you know how to use your iPod, you already know how to use this Controller. This is EXACTLY what users should expects ...to be able to leverage what they already know and are accustomed to. Extra points to HK for recognizing this and building their product accordingly.
The Display unit can be mounted in many different ways (note the different screw point in the rear of the LCD) and in a location that is best for the driver of a particular vehicle. Font size and tilt angle are all adjustible for optimal visibility.
The interface module can be mounted anywhere within the vehicle's electrical system. The module has a few different ways to get audio into a vehicles' sound system: a built in FM modulator for sending the signal in one of 5 different frequencies, a direct line-out to the Aux in of a head unit, and line-in to take other audio inputs (phone, Nav/GPS, DVD, etc...).
It is not hard to extrapolate where Harman is going with this line of thinking. Wouldn't it be great if some company created an "interface platform" where gadgets (MP3 players, XM/satellite, GPS, cell phones, etc...) can easily be plugged into a vehicle's sound system and controlled via a standard GUI/controller? Sure we can wait until all the car manufacturers get together and agree on a standard...or we can support a company that is taking the first step this Fall. I'm going to put my money on the latter.
This Drive+Play system will be available in September. Go here to signup to be notified when it is shipping.