BOCA RATON, FLA. -- By the end of 1988, as many as 1,000 software programs will have been written for personal computers using the new OS/2 operating system, according to officials from International Business Machines Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

IBM officials involved in the development of IBM's 10-month-old PS/2 line of microcomputers conducted a two-day news conference in Boca Raton last week for computer reporters from across the nation. Joined by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, whose company developed IBM's older PC-DOS operating system and the new system, IBM officials provided a glimpse of PS/2 and OS/2 improvements coming in the next two years.

Bill Lowe, IBM entry systems division president, said IBM intends to constantly upgrade the basic PS/2 and OS/2 products introduced last April, while maintaining the compatibility of older machines in computer environments of the future.

As new technology is introduced through new PS/2 models, the machines will be given greater computing power with no increase in price, he said. The least-expensive computer, the PS/2 Model 25, will still list for about $1,350 after improvements.

IBM introduced its version of OS/2 late last year. The system allows computers with large enough memories to perform more than one task at a time.

The system also improves computer networking and enables companies to give better presentations with graphics and information windows.

Gates said the cooperation between Microsoft and IBM was demonstrated by the companies' "willingness to fly across the country to speak at each other's events." He said the two companies have set a goal of 1,000 OS/2 software applications by the end of 1988.

"It's by no means assured that we'll achieve that, but I think we're doing all the right things to make that happen. We've already reached our first-month goal of 100 applications," Gates said. "It'll be a year where every week you'll see some new OS/2 applications. The momentum is definitely here."

Alan Ryan, a senior writer for Computerworld magazine, said the rapid introduction of applications software for OS/2 would help accelerate the sale of IBM personal computers.

However, he said new programs will not guarantee IBM's return to market dominance because other manufacturers will be coming out with their own versions of OS/2.