Power BI offers the Auto Date/Time feature, which enables easy browsing of data by year, quarter, month and date. In the following model the Sales table contains the Order Date column, which contains only the date. The user can browse it using year and quarter by simply dropping the date into a matrix:

The Auto Date/Time feature can be turned on or off using the File|Options and Settings|Options dialog, under Data Load. It is turned on by default. You can find more details in this other video: Disabling auto date-time in Power BI.

In order to slice data by the different attributes of the date, Power BI automatically creates one date table for each date column in the model. Thus, if the model contains five date columns across one or more tables, there will be five automatic date tables in the model. Moreover, these tables are hidden from the user because Power BI handles them automatically.

The user can reference these tables by using a special syntax, which Power BI uses in the creation of quick calculations. For example, the quick calculation of year-to-date (YTD) based on the Sales[Order Date] column is the following:

Sales Amount YTD := 
IF (
    ISFILTERED ( 'Sales'[Order Date] ),
    ERROR ( "Time intelligence quick measures can only be grouped …" ),
	TOTALYTD ( 'Sales'[Sales Amount],  'Sales'[Order Date].[Date] )

The second parameter of TOTALYTD is not a simple column reference. It contains the table name, the column name and then, separated with a dot, another column name. The full meaning of this syntax is the following:

Reference the Date column in the automatic date table created for the Order Date column in the Sales table.

Although this is a useful feature for very simple models, it comes with some severe limitations: