During the opening keynote of WWDC 2012 that took place this afternoon, Apple announced a slew of new features in Mountain Lion, Apple’s next Mac OS that is set to ship next month for $19.99. Earlier this evening, Apple released Developer Preview 4, giving us a first look at the new features. Namely, the new features include Facebook integration through the entire operating system, Apple’s new Mac Dictation feature that works much like it does on iOS, 1080 AirPlay mirroring, and several UI enhancements throughout. The additions definitely make the operating system feel like it’s ready to ship, as a GM is most likely coming out in the coming weeks. Let’s talk specifics.

When developers first got their hands on Mountain Lion earlier this Spring, Twitter was integrated throughout the entire OS. Now, Apple has now become sort-of buddies with Facebook, which now brings integration across Mac and iOS. Apple has added a Facebook login under the “Mail, Contacts, and Calendars” setting in System Preferences (note: developers have to download a separate .dmg to enable). Notifications for Facebook now appear in Notification Center and appears with the various sharing methods that are now present in Mountain Lion. For instance, you can just click the share button in a number of apps to simply post links and such to Twitter and Facebook. Safari is where this type of sharing is big. Speaking of Safari, it has gotten a nice makeover in Mountain Lion, with a huge Javascript boost and new features like Smart Search Field (think Google Chrome Omnibar), a new iCloud Tabs that keeps your tabs and bookmarks synced across your devices, and a new Tab View feature that lets you swipe through the tabs loaded on your other devices. As for when Facebook integration will actually hit the masses, it won’t be actually until this Fall, we learned this evening. It’s upsetting that it’s actually not going to be included at Mountain Lion’s launch.

We’re really excited for the new Dictation feature that allows you to natively speak to your Mac by simply just right clicking the microphone button. Apple says this feature works throughout Mountain Lion, “even in Microsoft Office.” From there you just speak natively, like saying “9to5mac.com” into Safari. We know you type it a lot, so why not make it easier by just saying it.. But seriously, it’s really cool.

If you have an Apple TV, you’re going to love Apple’s new AirPlay Mirroring, which allows you to mirror what’s on your Mac in a 1080p stream to your Apple TV, allowing everybody to look what your working on. This feature is perfect for meetings, getting rid of the need for expensive projectors.

Other minor enhancements included in the new Mountain Lion build are Game Center, better feature integration for Chinese users, and a whopping list of 1,700 APIs that give developers a little more flexibility when developing their apps. The Game Center is a lot like the Game Center featured on iOS, allowing you to share scores and more with the friends you’ve added on the social network. Speaking of the Chinese features, Apple has added an all new Chinese dictionary, integration with the popular Baidu search in Safari, and the ability to hook up with various popular Chinese email providers in Mail. As for UI tweaks, Notification Center has been given a new logo, a larger amount of space when it’s opened, and Mountain Lion’s dock has been given a bit of a tweak — looking quite nice.

Mountain Lion is sure to feature a ton of great features when it hits next month. Check out our tour of the new features we just discussed in the gallery that Sonny Dickson helped us build, below:

See anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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