There was a lot of speculation before Apple announced what its plans were to adhere to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. The rumors ranged from free side loading from any source, to Apple charging a 27% fee to developers offering alternative App Stores for the iPhone and iPad.
Neither of those ends were met. Instead, Apple has applied some limitations on the process.
The first main limitations to users is that they can’t download an App Package, or .IPA, from anywhere, and it will run. Apps still need to be notarized, and come from sources that Apple trusts.