The new Xbox One dashboard, which will usher in a bunch of new features including Xbox 360 backwards compatibility, will be released on November 12. Confirmation came via a tweet by Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb very early this morning.
Microsoft first showed off the "New Xbox One Experience" (that's its official name) back at E3 in June. The dashboard interface has been completely overhauled: now, instead of looking like the Windows 8 Start screen, it looks a bit more like a Windows 10 app. The interface is very flat, with a heavy focus on typography. Perhaps most importantly, settings, games, social updates, and all of the good stuff is much more easily accessible with a gamepad.
The primary focus of the new dashboard, you'll be happy to hear, is to make it faster and easier to do things.
Except for the new interface, the most notable feature of the Xbox One update is the wide roll-out of Xbox 360 backwards compatibility. Backwards compatibility has been tested by "preview" members since June, but after November 12 everyone will have access to the feature. Microsoft has to manually test and tweak backwards compatibility for each Xbox 360 game, and at the moment there's only a small list of games available. Microsoft says it's working to add hundreds more to the list, though. The update will also bring some improved social features—and those social features are now available via an in-game overlay, rather than buried within apps on the Start screen. Cortana was meant to be part of this update, but Microsoft announced earlier in October that she has been pushed back until sometime in 2016.
As a curious side note, the New Xbox One Experience is reportedly based on the "Threshold 2" build of Windows 10. This probably won't mean a whole lot in terms of the consumer experience, but it's a big step towards having Windows 10 across all of Microsoft's various device form factors.
If you're an Xbox One preview member, the dashboard update has already started to roll out. For everyone else, the update should arrive on November 12 worldwide.