To date, Altec Lansing's little portable Orbit speaker have come in a few different colors and designs. The latest offering, the Orbit USB, offers USB connectivity so you can conveniently plug it into your laptop.
In going to USB, the overall design of the speaker hasn't really changed (though we do prefer the black finish), but Altec has added a flip-out kickstand to the bottom of the unit, so you can prop it up at a 45-degree angle. Previously, the speaker fired upward or you could stand it up on its side, though not an angle. The kickstand is definitely a nice bonus and it appears to slightly improve the sound quality by having the speaker fire in a more optimal direction.
Earlier Orbits were battery powered, but the iML237 has no battery option; you must plug the USB cable into a computer for power. It's also worth noting that with other Orbits you had the option of using the integrated 3.5 millimeter plug to connect to a computer's speaker port or directly to an MP3 player or other device with an audio output. However, this model, as we said, is only designed for computer use.
While not minuscule, the speaker is fairly small: it measures 3.4 inches in diameter, is 2 inches deep, and weighs 5.76 ounces. Like the silver iM237, this model comes with a neoprene carrying case (it looks better in black, too) that should protect the speaker from short falls or sharp objects in your laptop bag.
As one might expect from a speaker this small, it doesn't sound all that good. But it also doesn't sound terrible and manages to belt out tunes with unexpected gusto, though--not surprisingly--it does better with lighter fare and less bass-heavy material.