Intel is evidently planning to updates its fastest CPU, the Core i7 980X, in the fourth quarter of this year. The new flagship will be called the Core i7 990X and should replace the 980X at the $999 price point. It will have an unlocked multiplier and six cores just like the 980X and a bump in clock speed to 3.46GHz potentially, though no official word came out on the actual clock speed of the chip.
Intel is also planning on releasing a Core i7 970 as a "cheap" six core processor in the third quarter but it is expected to launch just below $600. When the 990X hits in the following quarter, the 970 could see a lowering of price with another six core known as the 980 launching at the ~$600 area. The 980 will have a locked multiplier, just like the 970, but it will have a clock speed of 3.33GHz.
All of this seems a bit confusing especially with Intel's Sandy Bridge expected to launch in 2011. With the i7 getting a refresh so close to the launch of Sandy Bridge, it seems like the 990X will remain the flagship model since the Sandy Bridge parts at launch will be limited to quad cores.